Our second last day in Panama. We’ve been taking it easy and enjoying the chance to relax in the warm weather – sort of “chilling in the heat”. We haven’t even seen the canal yet, and everyone says it is one thing you absolutely must do when in Panama. So we decided to start our day with … a self-guided walking tour of every church in Casco Viejo ( Panama City – the old city). Hey – it seemed to make sense at the time.
Many of the churches have been destroyed, and rebuilt over the centuries, but this ornate pulpit dates back to colonial times.
But sometimes I find that the less obvious features are more impressive – like the post supporting the roof in this small church dating back to 1673 – simple, rustic, and yet very impressive in its own way.
Several of the churches also had the stations of the cross, something that brings back memories of my childhood. Of course, if you have been following this blog, you may also recall that the fourth station has particular significance from my visit to Jerusalem. The first example from our Panama walk is glazed and enameled dating to the 19th century.
Here are a couple other examples.
Of course, along the route we enjoyed the beauty of Casco Veijo. The bougainvillea in this picture was covering half the facade of a building, creating a wall of flowers. Interestingly, even though it came from a single root, it had a mix of white and pink flowers. I’m told this means that two different strains must have been grafted onto a single root stock.
Don’t you wish that was your balcony?
I also came across this tree. It almost looks like the tree grew to avoid the street light – though I’m sure that isn’t what actually happened. Still…
And here we go back to churches, in this case ones that have long been in ruins. This example is known for the flat arch shown here. Apparently it collapsed, unexpectedly, a few years ago, but was rebuilt using the original bricks.
Note the clear blue sky. It has been hazy the last few days, but not today.
I started this post talking about the Panama canal, and I eventually did make it to see the Miraflores locks. But here’s the thing. The Rideau canal runs through Ottawa, with a series of locks right beside parliament. They are tiny compared to the Panama canal, but you can get much closer to watch the locks in operation. I’ll try an analogy here. I’ve been able to see great musicians play in arenas, and the concerts have good. But the best concerts I’ve ever seen have been when not-quite-so-famous artists perform in much smaller venues. The chance to be “up close” makes all the difference. So by all means, see the Panama canal. But if you ever have the chance, you absolutely must see the Rideau canal locks in Ottawa.
With that, here are two pictures from the Miraflores locks.
What I like about this picture is the small boats in the lock as the enormous ship pulls up close to them. I know that everything is controlled, but this has got to be unnerving.
And this picture shows a supertanker pulling through the locks. The clearance on either side of the boat is less than two feet. It’s difficult to see where the ship stops and the lock begins…
That’s all for today. For tomorrow – who knows.