Tag Archives: Casco Viejo

Ancon Hill

Jan 24 – Our week in Panama City is drawing to a close, and there is one more hill Jim wants to climb. It’s not near our end of town, so we called an Uber to get us to the foot of Ancon Hill.

It turned out to be more of a paved road than a trail, but it was nice and shady, and gave us glimpses of the city as we climbed.

The bay
The shiny city
At the top was a statue of Amelia Denis de Acaza, who wrote a poem to encourage her people to fight to reclaim Panama’s sovereignty in 1906
A plaque commemorating Jimmy Carter agreeing to return Panama to its people in 1977
The Panamanian flag, which can be seen for miles from atop Ancon Hill
A lovely Portuguese woman named Mathilde offered to take our picture
Looking toward the canal
So many shipping containers
The Bridge of the Americas
As we started back down the hill, we spied a monkey!
There he goes!
Safe in his tree
Looking down toward Casco Viejo – see the two towers of the Cathedral?
And back down – a fine activity for our last day in the city!

More Churches in Casco Viejo

Jan 23 – We approached the Old Town from a new direction, and what did we find? Chinatown! It seems that every city has one. This one was definitely not included in the modernization we’ve seen in other parts of the city.

Iglesia de la Merced, Church of Mercy, had lots of life-sized statues.

This one was called Jesus the King. Very regal, but his hair looks a little gray for a 30 year old
This one was called Poor Jesus. Maybe because of the outfit he has to wear?
“Oh Lord, how long must I hold this candle?”
My personal favorite – Jesus plucking his guardian angel’s last nerve

The church next door had a more modern feel. I really liked the artwork.

A mural dedicated to those lost to Covid 19

Jim read about a church here with a remarkable Nativity display. We found it!

The display had so many vignettes, we had a hard time finding the manger
Egyptians!
The Annunciation
Romans!
There they are!

The display continued into the next room, with modern characters:

A fun afternoon!

Panama City

Our hotel

Jan 19 – The Executive Hotel in the newer part of the city has everything we could want, including a swimming pool and a generous breakfast buffet. But silver skyscrapers are not our thing. Jim said the city bears no resemblance to the Panama City he visited back in the 70s.

Cool buildings

This morning we set out to conquer the Metro station and find our way to the Old Town, Casco Viejo. The Metro was modern and clean, with a helpful attendant in a glass booth who sold us a reloadable metro card and did her best with gestures and no English to let us know that we had to load the card with funds at a nearby machine. There is no English signage here. We stood dumbly in front of the machine trying to figure out what to do, when a woman strode up, inserted our card, pushed some buttons and showed us where to insert our dollar coin. Nice Person of Panama!

Wall art!

We got on a clean, shiny train, not too crowded, and, three stops later, we emerged in a grittier part of the city. Google said we had a 20 minute walk to Casco Viejo. Now, I know we’re here to warm our bones, but it is HOT and humid here. It may take me a few days to adjust.

We reached the Plaza de Independencia, which has the Palacio Municipal one one side, and the Metropolitan Cathedral Basilica of Santa Maria the Ancient on the other.

Palacio Municipal
The Cathedral

Inside the Cathedral it was nice and cool, so we took our time looking around.

Lovely main altar

There is a reliquary and a wax statue of San Joselito here, a 14 year old Mexican boy who was tortured and murdered for his faith in 1928 and became a saint in 2016. First saint we’ve seen in blue jeans.

San Joselito
Life sized statues – looks like Jesus is in trouble again
Pretty Madonna, funny looking baby

Around the corner was the Church of St Joseph with a very gold altar.

Now, am I wrong, or is this a holy person taking a selfie?

Saint Selfie?

We walked around the Old Town and admired the colorful buildings:

Locks of Love, and a view across the bridge to the modern city

Arrived back home for an afternoon swim and a lovely dinner. An excellent first day.