Panama Viejo, El Valle and our way to Santa Catalina

It’s still early in the morning and we start into the city to claim our rental. At the breakfast we meet two more ladies who join and we start our day in Panama Viejo, the original part of the city which was destroyed by the British. There are just ruins left and it’s up to your imagination how this first settlement must have looked. The overview from the tower is great and you have a great view on Panama City from yet another angle. We still decide not to stay too long since we have other plans for the day.

Panama Viejo the first settlement of Panama City, was destroyed by the British.
The skyline of the new part of Panama City, very modern and impressive!

The two ladies, leave us and Anne, Stefan and me go to the fish market first for a great Ceviche. This is a South American cold salad with fish or other fruits of the sea which are cooked in lime juice. It’s really great and after this memorable meal we continue our trip to El Valle. It’s a village in the Highlands of Panama and normally really green. We visit a waterfall and have a swim in a natural pond, beside us is a Panamian family who owns a baby parrot which is very cute and in general the mood is very relaxed. The natural pond is filled from a fountain which is source of the waterfall. We chill out and continue in the late afternoon.

The way to El Valle leads through a dry but beautiful highland.
A bus station in Panama, highland of El Valle
The jungle of El Valle, beautiful, hot and humid.
Stefan and Anne, my traveler buddies from Germany. It was Anne’s idea to visit El Valle, a good one!
Guys, you really look like a couple :-p … Just kidding! Was nice travelling with you!

Stefan takes over the car from me and two minutes later we are stopped by the police and Stefan doesn’t even has his license with him so I hand him mine and he has to follow the cop who just stopped us. Stefan tells us after this incident, which cost us 40$, that the guy asked for 150$ in the first place since we were going 104 kph instead of the allowed 80. Stefan told him we are just students so he asked for 80$ and when Stefan was reacting like this is still lots of money, the cop asked him, as a man, what he would be willing to pay. Stefan gave him 40$ then, the cop mentioning his family the whole time. We are lucky after all, since it is my license not depicting Stefan, but the cop is not interested at all in this “little detail”.

We continue our trip after this crazy experience through the wild to Santa Catalina. Our gas is running very low and we pray to hit a gas station before it runs out. Since we passed Santiago, where we replenish our groceries, we made already 57 km towards Santa Catalina without hitting another gas station. Finally there is a gas station in Soná, our relief, otherwise we would have been supposed to turn and get the tank filled in Santiago, and this is an one hour ride away already…

The rest of the trip is tough again. It’s totally dark outside and driving like that is exhausting. There are cops along the street several times, so we can not go faster than allowed. A wonderful smell of rich earth and tropical rainforest fills the air. It’s an awesome feeling although we don’t know yet if there will be a place to sleep. Around 10:30 pm we’re finally there. It was a long day full of impressions and we immediately find a good place to sleep. Check in is done and it’s time to hit the beach. The night is absolutely dark and a huge amount of stars can be seen – it is really moving, the whole sky glimmers from the stars and some fireflies levitate around us…

There is a big party tonight and Anne and me attend. She is chased by a British guy the whole evening and I dance some decent Salsa until 4:30 am the next day – the best way after a long travel to totally lay back…

2 responses to “Panama Viejo, El Valle and our way to Santa Catalina”

  1. hello!,I like your writing so much! share we keep up a correspondence extra about your article on AOL? I require an expert on this space to resolve my problem. May be that is you! Looking ahead to look you. gdfcdffbkded

    • Thanks a lot for the compliments. I appreciate it and if people like the articles and pictures it’s even more fun to travel and collect material. What do you exactly mean with AOL, what kind of opinion do you need, let me know how I might be of help. Take care, Ben

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