Jan 25 – This morning we packed our bags, had one more breakfast that couldn’t be beat, and Ubered over to the Gran Terminal Nacional de Transporte, otherwise known as the bus terminal at the Albrook Mall.
The terminal was huge, and we were passed from one tout to the next until we reached the booth selling tickets to El Valle de Antón. Tickets cost $4.50 each, for a three hour ride.
We were directed onto a bus, and sat there for about half an hour until there were sufficient customers for us to leave. The bus was not a shiny new one like the city buses, nor was it as large, but it did have air conditioning. It also played loud mariachi music.
As soon as we left the terminal, the bus stopped on what seemed like every corner until it was full. The music changed from mariachi to Spanish rap. Each bus has a driver and a guy who opens the door, yells out the destination and hops off to collect money as passengers get on and off. It took us a long time to get out of the city, in bumper to bumper traffic, with road construction all around. Now, this feels more like Central America!
After an hour or so, the traffic thinned and we started to make good time. After another hour, the driver turned off the air con and we started to climb. We’re going to the mountains!
At the third hour, we arrived in El Valle. The driver stopped the bus right at our place, and we hopped off.
Los Aramos, owned by a former ambassador, is full of European furniture and artwork, and has been made into apartments of various sizes. We have a bedroom, a bath and a full kitchen, so Jim will be able to cook for us. The multiple dining and living rooms are outdoors, and shared.
We will be here for a week enjoying the cooler weather and taking in the sights and the hiking trails. Stay tuned!