Cruise through the Panama Canal, Part 3

From Panama to Fort Lauderdale

The last part of the cruise from the Pacific to the Atlantic

Now my clients and I have only a few more days aboard the Celebrity Infinity cruising with us from San Diego to Fort Lauderdale. The  program beside the cruise was organized by the Danish tour operator Seadane Travel. Zum deutschen Blog.

shore excursions celebrity infinity
Yes! I got my own shore excursion sigen!

We got up early and our German speaking guide Jorge Louis, who just wants to be called Carlos, is already waiting for us with the driver Dany in their minibus. In less than an hour we drive on the highway from Colón on the Atlantic side back to the Pacific, to Panama City. Yesterday, by ship through the Panama Canal, it took 10 hours.

bus art
colourful bus in Colón
skyscrapers in Panama
view of Panama

We drive along the man-made Gatun Lake, which is now largely protected with its rainforest and provides a home to many animal and plant species.

Then we arrive at

Panama-City

The skyline reminds me, as it did on my first visit a few years ago, very much of Miami. For sure, some more skyscrapers did appear.

houses in Panama
view over the museum in Panama Viejo

It is still quite early, when we arrive at our first stop, the oldest part of the city, Panama Viejo. The ruins of the first settlement are preserved in a kind of park by the sea. With a small train we drive to the other end, where on the site of the former town hall is now a new, small museum. Since we are the first group of the ship, Carlos has plenty of time to explain everything to us.

views of Panama
Panama Viejo and Nuevo

Many slaves built the monasteries, churches and houses of stones and corals. After the tour in the well-air-conditioned museum, we now look around the ruins, which today are inhabited mainly by short-necked vultures, iguanas and squirrels.

Cruising from San diego to Fort Lauderdale through the Panama Canal with Celebrity Infinity.
Lizard, living in Panama Viejo amongst the ruins
short throat vultures
vultures in Panama Viejo

Then we drive through the new Panama back to the center, to the seemingly Spanish looking Casco Viejo, which lies beautifully and colorful in the blazing sun. Many of the old houses have now been restored, but there are also enough ruins around, where only the facade has been preserved. Well-situated investors can certainly get involved here ….

restaurations in Panama
church in Panama

Between the narrow rows of houses, the sun has little chance to force its way down, so we can stroll through the old quarter reasonably shady. We also visit some churches. In one a chubby baby gets its baptization. Here also a huge nativity scene can be admired in an adjoining room. Because of the huge dimensions, it is no longer disassembled.

Jesus in Betlehem
all year long Christmas decoration

Carlos tells us amongst other things about the world’s most expensive coffee grown here in Panama. Its name is Geisha Coffee and costs at the moment over $ 800 per kilogram. One cup costs, in the café we go into, at least $ 10. Well, that´s too much for me and I drink very tasty “normal” coffee, and from the freshly baked carrot cake I could easily eat a second piece, but unfortunately our ship is waiting in Colón.

love in the city
love locks in Panama

The almost obligatory rain starts only when we are back in the minibus, so we get back on board dry.

balconies in Panama
old part of Panama

Soon the Celebrity Infinity cruises on to arrive punctually at 9am the next morning in

Cartagena, Colombia.

Since Dirk and I have already been here, we decided to show my clients this old city, or rather the old town itself, by ourselves. But we are lucky, one of the many taxi drivers got a bigger car and even speaks some German. For $ 70, he wants to drive us around for 3 hours and take us through the old town. That’s a good offer, because the Hop on hop off bus costs $ 45 per person.

street art
iron art in Cartagena

Before we visit the old town of Cartagena, Duran Duran brings us to the house of the former president Rafael Nunez; very airy and made of wood it is built. He is responsible for the constitution and the national anthem of Colombia.

church in Cartagena
Cartagena

Then in the old town we marvel at the many beautifully restored colorful houses with their overgrown balconies. Mostly small shops invite you to spend your money. Of course, the street vendors are not missing here and  vigorous bargaining is mandatory .

bicycle
street vendor in Cartagena

Unfortunately, the gold museum is closed for renovation and in the magnificent church a mass takes place. After all, it’s Sunday.

Just in time for the end of our city tour, there is a blinding flash and a thunderclap. We just manage to get dry into the car, then the rain starts.

wooden balconies
old houses in Cartagena
Senorita Colombia
all Misses in Colombia

Arriving at the port, we save ourselves from the flash floods under a parasol; with a delicious coffee latte we wait for the thunderstorm to end. With us, one of the many peacocks living here awaits the storm under a roof ledge. The tourists do not disturb him, and the rain does not bother the flamingos in an nearby enclosure. I do not know where the parrots and monkeys that live here in this little zoo have gone, but the anteaters are quite unimpressed by the rain.

street art
iron art in Cartagena

This was the last day on shore of our cruise through the Panama Canal. Two more days at sea and we´ll arrive at Fort Lauderdale. From Miami we fly back to the autumnally and certainly much cooler Germany.

Cartagena, Colombia
last view over Cartagena

Let’s see where the next journey takes us.

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Ruinen
taking pictures of vultures

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