Our first full day in the city has been just that – full! We have visited hotels, the old city (Casco Viejo), taken trips on the metro (Underground transport system), met some very interesting people and walked through some parts of the city we probably should avoid in the future!
Panama City is a multicultural city. Today we met a Greek Hotelier who has lived all over the world and settled here in Panama for the last 20 years. This was followed by a woman from the Caribbean who gave us the lowdown on where to go (and not too!). Our taxi drivers have been awesome – thankfully Uber is active in this city and it has cost no more than $4 to get anywhere!
We have noticed that Panama City is mixed with the very beautiful and the run down. If you walk one block too far in the wrong direction you end up in an area you would rather not be in. Having said this, I have never felt unsafe. It is just the same as any city in the world in this regard, you must be vigilant at all times but the people here are not looking for trouble.
The next thing that strikes is the Churches – there are plenty of them and they are all beautiful. People of all ages visit the Churches for prayer and it is great to see so many local young adults kneeling in prayer as tourist wonder around them.
There are 5 churches in Casco Viejo, the old town. This gorgeous part of the city is vibrant and full of culture. Unfortunately, the Cathedral is closed for renovations at present and every Church we visited had posters explaining the required works for the Pope’s visit in 2019. The Churches are ornate and the majesty of our Lord shines through.
This all leads to an excitement for World Youth Day in 2019. I am more confident being here that Panama is a great choice for host city and encourage all those who are able to come on pilgrimage in January 2019.