These are long days and we are seeing much that this city has to offer. It is hot and it is going to be a lot hotter when a million young people gather here in January 2019!
We started today by visiting Panama La Vieja, the original settlement of the city of Panama. Essentially now it is only ruins but we could feel the history. Captain Morgan (the pirate of rum fame) destroyed this area and the city moved to Casco Viejo (you’ll remember this from yesterday). There’s an interesting museum and great views of Panama City.
From Panama La Vieja we walked along the causeway, a beautiful stretch of coastal parkway until we reached the Fish Market. We ate freshly caught fish, from sea to plate in minutes and stayed out of the sun for as long as we could. It is not difficult to imagine this city filled with young Catholics; dancing, singing, praising.
Ancon Hill is the only hill in the city of Panama and is a National Park. It offers amazing views of the entire city and beyond at the summit but first we had to get up there. We tried to stay in the taxi to the top but the guards were having none of it, so out we popped and began to ascend. On reaching a crossroad we met two Panamanian girls who were coming down and informed us the park was closed and so, disappointed we turned around. Just as we began to descend the girls were coming back up the hill and told us that there may be another way. And so we continued to walk, by now our group had grown to around 10 people.
After 30 minutes climbing we made it to the top and WOW!!! The views are incredible. If you are blessed and able to make the pilgrimage here in 2019 this is a must. It gives a sense of the whole place and 180 degrees over the other side of the hill was an aerial view of the Panama Canal. We stayed for about an hour simply staring out over this magnificent creation.
Another incredible day here in Panama City and it just keeps getting better. The people alone are worth travelling for but there is so much more. Pope Francis, we thank you!