Now it is finally time to tell about the “fun, relaxing” portion of our trip!!
On Friday we celebrated my 60th birthday by trying to travel in every form of transportation available. It started with a boat, then a car, taxi, bus, airplane and rental car. Michael did his usual wonderful job of driving us around…..
Our final destination was Boquete, a small town in the mountains of western Panama. We flew into the city of David, rented our car and drove the hour to our new home at the Coffee Estate Inn.
We were ushered into a lovely 1 bedroom apartment with amazing views across the mountain/volcano….
Dinner that evening was at a local restaurant where we enjoyed sitting on the deck and watching the rain fall on the beautiful flowers….
…and taking Birthday selfies…..
My meal for the evening was a magnificent salad that started with young, crisp lettuce on which I could add 5 different ingredients, two toppings, the salad dressing and a grilled chicken breast. It was SO yummy!!….
I ordered a pot of tea with my dessert and was enamored with the tea bag. it came in this container…..
…..and looked like this when opened……
On Saturday we decided to head to the town of Volcan, although we never actually made it there!! We enjoyed our drive thru the country, passing thru Citrus groves that ran along each side of the road. We passed little towns filled with brightly covered houses. Many were tiny cinder block boxes but with gorgeous wooden doors. It seemed quite incongruous.
It was fun watching as the townspeople went thru their daily routines…..hanging brightly colored washing on the clotheslines, standing in the concrete bus stops and looking out the window, and a boy running across the road with his soccer ball ready to join in a “pick-up” soccer game.
The only worrying thing of the trip was having to go thru numerous Police Check Points….with a foreign driver’s license and a rented car, but the officers were kind and sent us on our way.
Things came to a stop when we found a small woodworking shop run by Mr. Jose De La Cruz Gonzalez, a self-proclaimed craftsman and poet! We spent about 30 minutes in his shop, looking at some of his work and hearing about the awards that he has won all over the world. Most of the “for sale” pieces in his shop were rather kitschy as I am sure he was going for things that were not very expensive however there was one gorgeous inlaid table that only cost $22,000!! Of course this is the one that Michael wanted!!
We did purchase one very nice piece carved from the Macano tree that his daughter-in-law made….
…. and he carved her name on the back as we watched…..
It was raining quite heavily when we left his shop so we decided to travel no further into the mountains but instead to return to our Inn. We did pass one dilapidated bridge and took turns taking photos of each other standing precariously at the end…..
The afternoon was spent relaxing, napping and trying to get decent photos of the hummingbirds flitting around the trees……
On Sunday morning we originally booked a tour of a local coffee plantation, but quickly changed our mind and decided to just hang out on our deck for most of the day. It was a perfect decision!!
Dinner that evening was at an Italian restaurant called “Retrogusto”.
We met the owner, named David, who was from Naples and had moved to Boquete to live a quieter life.
I am not sure that opening a restaurant was the best way to do that!!
Our meal was delicious, starting with an excellent Mojito and finishing with “Passion Fruit” Cello…..a new version of Limoncello…..
On Monday morning we started the day with our usual breakfast……
…..and then made the return journey to the David airport.
A quick overnight in Panama City and then we caught our Delta flight back to Atlanta.
While we enjoyed our brief time in Panama, we came away feeling like we had not actually been in a foreign country. The country was filled with Americans and other nationalities and it didn’t seem as if there were any true Panamanians there!! When we would ask for a restaurant that served “Panamanian” food, we were met with puzzled looks and lots of hemming and hawing. I wonder if over the years Panama has somehow lost it’s identity.
All in all though, it was a fun trip and provided us with some much needed down time!!
We arrived back at our house to be joined about 30 minutes later by friends visiting from Australia.
We hadn’t seen this couple in 27 years and spent two lovely days catching up and enjoying one another’s company……