Nuevo Cristóbal

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    • Day 8

      Dec. 29th: Colon, Panama

      December 29, 2023 in Panama ⋅ ⛅ 79 °F

      Panama's Second City (after Panama City) lies near the Panama canals' Atlantic entrance. According to our guide, Josie, under a corrupt goverment, Colon City is run down, can be dangerous and most people here are very poor. We saw this first hand. Most buildings look unstable and in various stages of disrepair.

      On our excursion today, we visited Gamboa National Park, one of Panama's lush rainforests. Panama's tropical rainforest is one of the world's most complex ecosystems but like a lot of the world, it is suffering from climate change. We took a Tram from the forest floor, thru dense undergrowth and up to the forest canopy (280 feet above). We traveled along the treetops in the hope to find monkeys, sloth and various birds. It was very hot and many of the wildlife stayed out of site. Right away, we sited a white nosed Coatis, which isn't too unusual. They are very much like our squirels, but larger and quite mischievous. On our way down from the top, it began to thunder and poured! It is a rainforest after all! We spotted a sloth, a Howler monkey, Pileated Woodpecker and various birds and lots of HUGE termite nests! By the time we went to the sloth sanctuary, we were all soaked. This rain was welcome as Panama has been experiencing a "rainfall deficit". We also visited sanctuaries for the Poison Dart Frogs, Butterflys & Orchids.
      Interesting note: the adorable Sloth sleeps 17 hours a day and only poops once a week 😳

      Tonight's Blind wine pick: Portugal's Quinta da Avelida Vinho Branco
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    • Day 51


      January 23, 2020 in Panama ⋅ 🌧 26 °C

      Heute waren wir in Panama. Leider ist Panama City 2 Stunden mit dem Auto entfernt und das Taxi wäre zu teuer gewesen. Deshalb konnten wir nur Panama Downtown besuchen. Es ist nicht besonders schön hier aber sie Hauptsache ist das wir endlich wieder Zeit draußen verbringen konnten. Jetzt folgen 10 Tage auf See 😭. Werde mich also dann erst wieder melden können.

      Morgen werden wir durch den Panama Canal fahren. Das wird richtig interessant sein. Das dauert 8 Stunden und wir von Zügen durch den Kanal gezogen. 20 Leute kommen an Bord und übernehmen die Kontrolle an Bord. Der Kapitän hat dann nicht das sagen.
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    • Day 7

      Day 7: Hello from Colon Panama

      December 29, 2023 in Panama ⋅ ☁️ 81 °F

      We arrived at Colon, Panama this morning. We had breakfast onboard at Mamsen’s, then disembarked for our 9:30 excursion through the old Panama City. We hoped on a bus for an hour. That’s how long it takes to get from the Atlantic Ocean side in Panama to the Pacific Ocean side, overland.

      Panama is a much more prosperous country than Columbia was. In Columbia there was trash, and piles of it, littering every single road. There was very little of that in Panama. Another difference is that in Columbia, almost everyone got around on scooters. I saw a family of 4 on a scooter. The small child stood in front of the father, who was driving. The mother sitting behind the man was holding a baby. In Panama, I saw few motorcycles/scooters. The better paved roads had many cars. I saw Toyota, Mazda, Kia and a few Chevys. All in reasonably good shape.

      Our guide, Maria explained that Panama makes money by moving goods, whether that would be overland, via train or over water via the Panama Canal. She also explained how there were/are 3 Panama Cities. The original city was burned to the ground by Invaders. Then it was rebuilt. That is the Old Panama City. Now a new, more modern Panama City is being constructed as an extension to the Old City. We toured the Old City which has old architecture and narrow cobblestone streets.

      Driving is not for the faint of heart and I am not sure that being a passenger is either. Drivers more or less rely on the courtesy of other drivers. I saw cars driving straight past stop signs. Our guide explained that what is commonly called the Panama Hat is not. Teddy Roosevelt may have gotten his from someone in Panama but it was actually made in Ecuador. I did buy a ‘REAL’ Panama Hat. It is adorable and I will post a photo of me wearing it.

      Our tour was cut short by a downpour after we had toured a church. We waited until it slowed down and made our way back to the center of town where we boarded our bus to return to the Atlantic Ocean side of Panama to board The Viking Neptune.

      #myvikingjourney #vikingneptune
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    • Day 7

      Colon Tour continued

      December 28, 2023 in Panama ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

      Clayton (now - City of Knowledge) formerly biggest US military base in the area. Albrook, a US military base in the past, and the airport is still in use. Panama Port company (look up YouTube crocks and locks) 1903-1999 Gorges Hospital in now an exclusive for cancer patients. Panama convention center holds 8,000 people. Covid is still around but much better now. Crime delinquency, and safety and much improved after the evil dictator. Bush 1989 sent 30,000 military to clean up Panama. Causeway connects 3 islands ( with fill from the canal) from the Panama Canal to the mainland and it acts as a beautiful, water break and a recreational area for locals and tourists. Oct 13,1962 there was a ferry then a bridge was built. Biodiversity museum, architecture… are tourist highlights and old town and down town… because of the phenomena of the tides, they dredge the canal and do daily maintenance, During the Pandemic a tanker ship didn’t get the anchor out soon enough, and hit the train bridge doing significant damage. It was a Panamanian pilot. Lots of roundabouts are efficiently employed to control traffic. We saw lots of churches, St. Joseph Church, etc. The Panama Isthmus, at 4:30 PM, lecture about the Panama Canal history was very informative. Dinner and a lovely shared dinner with folks from NV, & NM.Read more

    • Day 30

      Transit the Panama Canal

      March 31 in Panama ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

      Unlike yesterday we saw ships go through the locks on the Panama Canal today. One of them was ours.
      Up before Sparrow Fart this morning (5:30am) to make sure I caught the action. Unlike the Suez Canal, where we missed the start, we entered the Canal at first light.
      Going through the locks is quite interesting. Due to the squeeze tolerances you get pulled through the lock by these electric locomotives called 'mules'. Bearing in mind how complicated the whole process is, it's pretty quick. About 90 minutes at Miraflores which is two lifts. The set after at Pedro Miguel is one lift but it took ages to get the ship in. The wind was really strong and was blowing us around. We had to use the ships thrusters plus get a shove or two from a tug to get in. Even then we bumped the side a couple of times.
      The first part of the canal from Panama City above the locks is fairly narrow and is a cut through a small range of hills. Pretty impressive for a job started in the 19th century. Then you pass into a big freshwater lake that was made by damming a river. Then drop down another set of locks (Gatun Locks) to the level of the Caribbean ( or is that Caribbean 🤔). Then is about 8km through a wide dredged channel to the sea.
      I was out in the wind and sun for 7 hours. Wasn't going to miss any of it. Angela got me drinks etc coz she knows I'm nuts and loves me anyway.
      I think I flattened every battery in every device that can take pictures I had.
      In the process I saw a couple of shimmy lizard things that would not have been out of place in Australia. 3 or 4m long. I heavily suspect them to be American Crocodiles. Yes there is such a thing.
      So we are now in the Caribbean ( or is that Caribbean 🤔) and heading for the island of Aruba, which is our last stop. Boo hoo! Then two days at sea to Miami, Florida, US of A where we plan to clear migration asap, go the the airport and bugger off to Sunny Wales.
      Sorry about the lack of pictures. I was busy taking pictures but not on the phone.
      So in summary we crossed the North American continent and a range of hills in a ship in 7 hours.
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    • Day 10

      Offshore Overnight Cruising

      April 25, 2023 in Panama ⋅ 🌙 81 °F

      When we pulled out of the Colon port we were literally within a few miles of the entrance to the first locks. So we apparently will be doing circles offshore all night long.

      I thought I might hit the casino again as I haven’t been back in the last 3 days and I know they were missing getting an additional portion of the kids’ remaining inheritance. However, we left the port nearly an hour late and we are apparently not out far enough to open the casino. So I caught the late Neal a Diamond tribute show after a pasta dinner at the Italian restaurant. Just chillin for now in case the casino opens soon. It’s been a long day and I’m starting to feel it.

      Also, it’s an early start for the Canal tomorrow! Otherwise not much else to report.
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    • Day 13

      Oh, wie schön ist Panama!

      December 24, 2019 in Panama ⋅ 🌧 27 °C

      Heiligabend in Panama! Das ist sehr ungewöhnlich. Seit 40 Jahren haben wir Weihnachten am Wohnort unserer kleinen Familie gefeiert - und davor in unseren Herkunftsfamilien. Aber die Ursache dafür ist alles Andere als traurig: Denn in diesem Jahr ist Artur geboren worden und hat damit eine neue Familie begründet, die von nun an ihr Weihnachten gestalten wird - hoffentlich noch oft zusammen! Nach diesem Weihnachten freue ich auf die Zukunft !

      Deshalb lief das heute auch ganz anders: Aufwachen bei tropischen Temperaturen - durch die Zeitverschiebung war es dann schon Nachmittag in D, wo zu dieser Zeit sonst schon der Weihnachtsbaum geschmückt war und die Königungspastete verspeist war. Blieb also nur der Internetanruf an Thomas und später Maike und die Gewissheit mitzunehmen, dass es ihnen gut ging. Noch ein paar What’sApp Grüße, dann war das Weihnachtstitual auch schon vorüber.
      Panamakanal stand bei uns stattdessen auf dem Programm. Da die angebotenen Landausflüge uns zu aufwendig war, haben wir nach dem Frühstück ein Taxi gebucht, das uns zu den atlantikseitigen Schleusen des Kanals gebracht hat. War ein schöner Ausflug - eben wieder anders , als man sich das vorgestellt hat. Man muss eben reisen um zu verstehen.
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    • Day 7

      Colon, Panama

      February 10, 2023 in Panama ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

      Today's tour is "Panama Treasures- Just for You."

      Tour guide Rosalba. She gave us a great overview of the History & culture in Panama. We started out in the museum in Old Panama. There was an exhibit on the "Crypto-Jews" who had to hide their faith for fear of persecution- this being time of Spanish colonization, and concurrently the Spanish Inquisition. We went outside and saw the remains of the Cathedral Tower- Cathedral of the Assumption-1519, Convent of St Dominic.

      We went to the Reprosa studio where they produce reproductions of the ancient artifacts. We learned about the "lost wax" method of creating jewelry. (I got to sandblast a piece that contained quite a few jewelry elements- I was a designated Master Blaster😁). W got me a pair of gold-plated spiral earrings- quite lovely.

      We had lunch at a cafeteria- fish, beans, platanos, Cole slaw. W and I shared, and it was just right. The 1-1/2 hours back to the ship.
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    • Day 18

      Côlon - Panama city et vieille ville

      January 23, 2023 in Panama ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

      Bienvenue à Côlon, ville du centre du Panama, à l'extrémité Caraïbes du canal de Panama.
      Elle est la capitale de la province de Côlon et est traditionnellement connue comme la deuxième ville du Panama.Read more

    • Day 8

      Day 8: Good Morning Panama Canal

      December 30, 2023 in Panama ⋅ ⛅ 81 °F

      It’s a busy place this morning on deck 8 of the Explorer’s lounge. The normal morning quiet is replaced by the excitement of many of our fellow travelers all sharing in the moment entering the Panama Canal.

      After the passing under the bridge the canal splits in two; go to the left you are traveling the newer wider canal. To the right (Our choice) we will pass through the narrowing older canal.

      You will notice pics of the mules towing the ship through the locks.

      I kissed my wife Donna in the Panamá Canal.

      You will also see a ship coming through the other direction.

      #myvikingjourney #vikingneptune #Panama. #panamaCanal
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Nuevo Cristóbal, Nuevo Cristobal

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