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  • Day161

    A lazy day in Panama

    February 15, 2020 in Panama ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    Today, we decided to do nothing but relax. We started the morning with a coffee at the pool watching the sunrise. Afterwards, we had breakfast, did some research for the last days in Panama and went swimming in the pool. In the afternoon, we exchanged lots of information about possible routes and places to stay or visit with Jonny and Becky.
    For dinner, Jonny and Becky spoilt everyone with a yummy Shakshuka. We closed the night again with a round of Mexican train.
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    Florian Köppl

    Herbert bist du gerade am Verlieren, oder geht es darum, wer die meisten Steine sammelt? 😉

    Florian Köppl

    Sieht sehr entspannend aus. 👍😎

    Her Bert

    Ich hab fürs Bild ein paar Steine dazu gelegt. Eigentlich war mein Brett schon leer 😜

    Her Bert

    Das war es in der Tat 😁

  • Day162

    Exploring Boquete

    February 16, 2020 in Panama ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

    Jonny and Becky left after breakfast this morning and we decided to go to Boquete to have a look at this nearby mountain village. It's only some 20km away, but the climate is a lot different as it's higher up in the mountains. There is a constant rain or mist which is quite refreshing.
    Max and Ken gave us a lift up, as they went to a music festival there, so we had another day off the bikes. We walked around, looked at the fair grounds where they had a flower festival last month and peaked into some coffee and chocolate shops. Herbert was impressed by the beer selection in the supermarket. In general, the supermarket had lots of different products - a way better offer than any of the other supermarkets we had seen in Panama before.
    After some hours of exploring, we took the bus back to Dolega. We went for a swim, fed the dogs and cooked Bratkartoffeln for everyone for dinner.
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    Johann Kuhlmann

    Flens, ich fass es nicht!

    Meike Grothe

    Und Paulaner und Erdinger... Wir waren auch überrascht!

  • Day163

    Sauna ride

    February 17, 2020 in Panama ⋅ ☀️ 32 °C

    After our little holiday in (Max' and Ken's) paradise, we were well rested to continue our last stretch in Central America. We left after breakfast and started with some beautiful remote roads, the first 10km even dirt. Most of the time, we could see Panama's "spine". This is the mountain range splitting the country into the Carribean and the Pacific side and - at least from what we see - is permanently covered in clouds.
    Afterwards, we hit the Panamerican highway again. We dreaded this and expected heaps of traffic. However, it wasn't too bad: Most of the time, it had a wide shoulder and traffic was ok, only very few trucks. The shoulder was quite dirty with glass and broken tyres, but our tyres seem to have survived it without a puncture.
    As it was 46°C today, we felt like being in a sauna and had to stop at supermarkets twice to buy more drinks. The supermarkets were disappointing, not many products in general, almost no fresh produce, quite expensive and all run by Chinese.
    However, we met Gregorio in one of them. He was on his way back to the capital and very interested in our trip. He gave us his number, so he can help us out once we get to Panama City.
    We decided to stay in Las Lajas. We were not too motivated to camp in this heat, so decided to check out a hostel. When talking to the owner in Spanish, I noticed a strong German accent - most likely from the Leipzig area. We switched to German and Christian confirmed. He gave us a little discount on the room, so we decided to stay.
    We still went to the beach for a swim - nice ride through green landscape. The beach was empty and huge. As Herbert saw a fin swimming around on the water surface, he immediately run back to the beach. Don't know which creature was on the other end of the fin.
    On the way back, we passed the 13000 km mark 💪 A good excuse to enjoy a Panamanian beer on our porch while watching first a flock of green parrots and later the stars in the sky.
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    Anne-Kathrin Ernst

    Vielen Dank für eure ausführliche Berichterstattung ! Es ist jeden Tag interessant und kurzweilig zu lesen. Mich fasziniert auch, dass ihr immer wieder Leute trefft, die euch helfen oder wie heute, sogar Landsleute sind.😊Auch scheint es immer wlan zu geben👍

    Elisa Köppl

    Alles klingt spanisch, wenn man ein „os“ dranhängt 😁

  • Day164

    Extreme sweating

    February 18, 2020 in Panama ⋅ ☀️ 34 °C

    Another sauna day - quite above 40 degrees... We also knew we had a rolling road, so we decided to leave after sunrise. Christian (the hostel owner from Saxony) made us coffee, fruits and a dish he called "Bennkeks", mostly known as pancakes, for breakfast - and off we went.
    The first 20km were on the Panamerican Highway. Again, not too much traffic and a broad shoulder. Then we decided to go for the scenic route, highway number 5. What a beautiful alternative to the main highway! All day, we encountered more horses than cars on this road. Furthermore, we heard and saw many different birds, even a toucan. The route was green and shady and we enjoyed stunning views over the mangrove area.
    The road was quite exhausting though, lots of ups and downs, all to cycle in this heat here. The area got dryer as well, so no more shade after 11am. A scorpion next to the road reminded us that camping spots have to get selected carefully.
    We are also getting closer to Central Panamá which seems to be THE place to be for celebrating carnival. We only passed little villages, but even there they'll be partying 5 days in a row starting this Friday.
    At about 2pm, we arrived in Soná. For the first time we are staying at the firestation. In many of the Central American countries, the firemen let biketourists for free, so it's often used by the guys who travel on a very low budget. As hotels in Panama are quite expensive, it's an option for us as well and it's actually a pretty good standard: we can camp on their 3rd floor under a roof and use their kitchen and their shower.
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    CundA aus NY

    Im 3. Stock ist es da besser zu übernachten. Wie lang ist das Tierchen?

    Anne-Kathrin Ernst

    Die Landschaft ist so schön 💗

    Her Bert

    Ich wollte das Maßband nicht direkt neben das Tierchen legen. Wahrscheinlich 12cm.

  • Day169

    Survival training and a German visitor

    February 23, 2020 in Panama ⋅ ⛅ 31 °C

    Waking up in nature here means that hearing monkeys, birds, frogs and many other animals. Just before sunrise is the loudest time in the forest and we really enjoy it.
    We spent the morning with a "survival training" like cutting and frying platanos on a wood stove and peeling oranges so that you can drink them straight. This natural orange juice is super sweet and refreshing!
    In the afternoon, we went to another part of the lake (of course by boat) to pick bananas and lemons. Gregorio showed us how to cut a banana tree with a machete without causing the fruit falling on the ground. Other than that, we relaxed in the hammocks, went for a swim in the lake, used the Tarzan swing, enjoyed yummy food and had great conversations with our hosts and their friend Clemente who came by for a visit.
    At about 4pm, we headed back to the city. Gregorio and Irma dropped us of at our Airbnb - not missing out on giving us some bananas, oranges and homemade lemonade before leaving.
    We quickly did some grocery shopping and took the bus to the airport - because today, we expected a visitor from Germany. And yes, just when we arrived at the gate, Michl came out!!
    Good to meet a friend at the other side of the world who is willing to travel with us for the next 2 weeks - welcome to cycling life 😀
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    Johann Kuhlmann

    Really beautiful

    Elisa Köppl

    Ich freue mich schon auf das erste gemeinsame Foto von Miagi und HerBart 😁🧔🏼

  • Day174

    Relaxing in San Blas Islands

    February 28, 2020 in Panama ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    Another day in the San Blas islands. This time, we sailed to the next small island where we started with a breakfast of fruit and pancakes.
    The rest of the day was as the day before: snorkeling, swimming, relaxing, reading. The snorkeling was good but we didn't see as much as the day before, probably due to a strong current. Some locals came by every now and then to offer fresh fish and seafood.
    For lunch, Alejandro spoilt us with a Gulasch type of food with salad and potatoes. For dinner, we went to one of the islands, had grilled fish with coconut rice and sweet fried platanos, coco loco (coconut filled with rum) and a bonfire.
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    CundA aus NY

    Siehst sehr zufrieden aus mit dem Piratenleben

    Her Bert

    Damit verdient sich hier so mancher seine Brötchen 😳

    Elisa Köppl

    Es fehlt nur noch der Papagei 🦜. Arr arr 😉

    2 more comments
  • Day284

    Panama Canal

    March 5, 2020 in Panama ⋅ ⛅ 32 °C

    Panama Canal, wohl einer der berühmtesten Wasserwege der Welt. Die Miraflores Schleusen, eine riesen Anlage und ganz gemächlich werden die Schiffe da durch manövriert. Später besichtigen wir noch von der Atlantic Brücke aus der Ferne die Gatun Schleusen.Read more

    Charly Adler

    😳😳 Die haben aber Streichmass in der Schleuse 😉😉👍👍

    Roman Giacometto

    Schleusen und Kanaele(SUEZ) haben die Welt veraendert!

  • Day159

    Final border crossing in Central America

    February 13, 2020 in Panama ⋅ ⛅ 32 °C

    Early start to get the first boat to Golfito leaving at 6am. We were lucky to get there 20 minutes before as it was full and some people even had to wait for the next boat. As it's Costa Rica, things were relatively organised: only one desk to pay for the ticket, a price for the bike as well and everyone on the boat got a seat and a life vest.
    After 20 minutes, we arrived safely at the other side. Golfito is really cute, a Golf within the Golf (best to see on a map again), surrounded by rainforest.
    From Golfito, we headed towards the border to Panama. We took some smaller roads again, pretty much in the the middle of nowhere and some bad gravel as well, but everything was green and hilly and there was only very few traffic.
    Before getting to the border crossing post, there's 2 roads running in parallel, one in Panama, one in Costa Rica. Theoretically, you can just cross, but it's probably better to get our proper stamps considering we want to travel some more countries on our trip...
    So we continued to the immigration office a little further up the roads - and were sent back as we hadn't officially left Costa Rica yet. This was just the immigration to Panama. So we had to go back some 500 meters on a different road, pay 9US$ exit fee (got a receipt for 8$ only) and received our stamp. We then headed back to Panama immigration and saw some Americans discussing with the lady behind the counter. Seemed like they had problems getting in. They wanted a printout of an onward flight ticket from us and we told them we were travelling by bike and leaving Panama by boat. We could even show them an email. After some discussion, we were fine and got our stamps.
    The whole procedure seems to be pretty random. The lady asked me if I could help translating for the Americans. They needed to prove that they were leaving the country again. When I talked to them, they told me they were on holidays in Costa Rica, had a flight ticket from Costa Rica back home (which they could show on their iPad) and a parking ticket on the Costa Rican side (in their hands) as they only wanted to spend a day on the Panama side. This was obviously not enough proof that they were going to leave the country, the lady insisted on them having also a bus ticket out of the country which they didn't have. Interesting policies!
    I guess it was a bit of luck for us and also being able to speak at least some Spanish, so an email reservation confirmation for a boat was sufficient for us to enter country number 10.
    We finished the last 25km to La Concepción, where we found an AirBnB and spent the night talking to our host Edwin.
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  • Day167

    Fighting wind and traffic

    February 21, 2020 in Panama ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    Another day on the highway... Luckily, we had a good night's sleep in an airconditioned room and 2 breakfast (because we had to try 2 different traditional dishes - no complaints from our side 😉). Strong headwinds, more and more traffic and a shoulder in a bad condition. No fun! Also, a police officer stopped us to have a chat and warn us about crazy and drunk drivers around carnival. The positive thing of the ride was a little bit of refreshing rain.
    We were going to go for a swim at one of the beaches further up North. But when we got there, it was all private and they wanted us to consume for at least 25 dollars. So we decided to call it a day and half-heartedly tried to hitchhike to Panama City to also avoid more of the highway. However, it was a bad spot with cars passing way to fast and no shade to protect ourselves from the sun.
    So after 10 minutes, we decided to cycle to the next town another 20km from that spot and try again. Once we got there, we really didn't want to cycle another metre on the highway, pulled off to stop anyone who could take us to the city. After 5min, a minibus stopped, they tied the bikes to the roof and we finished the last 90km to the capital by bus. We were actually happy to sit in a car with a crazy driver rather than being on a bicycle with crazy drivers around us.
    In Panama, we found a place where we could sleep in a giant tent with a fan for 10$. We cooked dinner with the residents and shared a beer before going to bed.
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    CundA aus NY

    Ja, das ist die Abkürzung bei einmal Rund um, wenn man den Bogen um Kap Hoorn auslässt.

  • Day172

    Steep, steeper, steepest

    February 26, 2020 in Panama ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    Today was the day we were going to board a sailing boat in order to continue to Colombia via the San Blas islands. Everything was organized, Herbert and me were going to get to Carti harbour by bicycle and Michl was going to get picked up by the shuttle also taking the other tourists of our boat.
    We left the cabins at 7am as we were supposed to meet the shuttle and the speedboat taking us to the sailing boat at 9am. We had looked at the route profile before. It didn't look too bad, a couple of steep rolling hills, but generally more downhill than uphill. However, when we started cycling, we immediately were hit by super steep hills. So steep, that we had to push the bikes several times which is even more exhausting than pedaling but was at least somehow doable. When we got to the harbour at 8:45am, we were soaked in sweat even though we only cycled for 20km. The shuttle hadn't arrived yet, so we had time to change, reorganize our luggage and prepare the bikes for the boat. After an hour of preparations, we got nervous as the shuttle still hadn't arrived. I asked around to get some information but people weren't helpful at all. As our phone had no signal, I asked another tourist if I could use his phone to call the shuttle driver. The driver told us that we were waiting at the wrong harbour and had to go to another one which was luckily only 15min away. So we quickly packed the bikes again and headed there. At the harbour, again, there was no shuttle. At least, the people knew the boat and the driver, so we assumed we were at the right place. Again, we unpacked the bikes and wrapped them with cling wrap to protect them from salt water.
    As there was still no shuttle, I asked around and found out that the car had broken down. They didn't know what time it would arrive. So we waited some more time. A little later, Michl arrived. He also got nervous after 2 hours of waiting to get picked up and had asked our cabin host to drive him.
    The shuttle finally arrived at about noon. Apart from the 3 of us, there were 5 other people on our boat: Olaf and Caroline, both single travelers from Germany, Amanda from Washington DC and Andrew and Dhana, a couple from California. After several tries to fix it on the way, the guys had to change the car eventually. All of us could finally go onto the speedboat which took us to the Wilson, our sailing boat, within about 30min. For some reason, the speedboat driver thought he could make up for the delay, so people, bikes and luggage got shaken a lot.
    On the Wilson, Erwin our Austrian captain, welcomed us. Everyone got a place to sleep, luggage was safely stored and the bikes attached to the sides of the boat. We also went for a swim in the sea - finally some water after our cycling adventure in the morning. Alejandro, the Colombian assistant on board, cooked a Bolognese for a late lunch. Afterwards, we sailed under engine to our first island where we anchored, went for a swim again and had a mouthwatering curry for dinner. We will definitely put on weight on this trip 😀
    The captain offered to take everyone to a bar on the island, but apart from Andrew and Dhana, everyone was too tired after the transportation chaos in the morning and preferred staying on the boat to enjoy a cool beer and the stars before going to bed.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Republic of Panama, Panama, ፓናማ, パナマ, 파나마, ପାନାମା, ปานามา, ປານາມາ, ប៉ាណាម៉ា, ประเทศปานามา, สาธารณรัฐปานามา, i-Panama, Orílẹ́ède Panama, Pa-na-ma, Panamá, Panamà, Panamā, Panamaa, Panamaja, Panamän, Panama nutome, Panamo, República de Panamá, بنما, پاناما, پنامہ, פנמה, Παναμάς, Панама, པ་ན་མཱ, པ་ནཱ་མ།, Պանամա, პანამა, पनामा, पानामा, પનામા, పనామా, ಪನಾಮಾ, பணாமா, பனாமா, പനാമ, পানামা, ပနားမား, පැනමා, 巴拿马