We wanted to experience a natural setting of Central America without having to get involved in a tour group that would take us out of the city. Parque Natural Metropolitano was a great solution. Located on the northwest edge of the city, it is just over a kilometre from our hotel. We would normally walk to this destination but with temperatures hovering in the high 30s, we opted to take the bus. It was a good decision, the cool bus ride prepared us for the many hiking trails we walked. The longest trail took us to the summit where we captured nice views of the city.
The following pictures depicts the thick greenery that exists and gave us shade.
A suspended leaf
Narrow, natural pathways
Part of the trail consisted of a wide roadway
At The Summit
Looking towards the eastern edge of the city
Moving clock-wise, just north of city central
City central, behind all those tall buildings is the Pacific Ocean (and our hotel)
Continuing clock-wise, looking south
Behind the white building in the center is Casco Viejo and to the right is the entrance to the Panama Canal. You can see all the ships that had passed through or waiting to go through
A comparison of the thick jungle and a modernized city
Miraflores Visitor Center is filled with detailed information on the creation and development of the Panama Canal and Miraflores Locks. Unfortunately, due to the lighting and glass covered displays, most of the photos would have contained too many unwanted reflections. Therefore, I refrained from taking any in these areas.
However, the top floor of the center had a wonderful exhibit on insects that can be found in Central America. With low lighting, I was able to capture close up views of this vast living kingdom.
The Rhinoceros Beetle are the among the largest in the world and can reach 15 cm (6 in) in length.
Green Katydid Bush Cricket
Topside of the Owl Butterfly
Underside of the Owl Butterfly
The decision to visit Panama City was due to our childhood fascination of the Panama Canal. Naturally, it is the first post of our adventure in this Central American city.
Stretching about 80 KM in a north/south direction, Panama City sits on the Pacific side on the south. The Miraflores Locks is located about 15 kms north of the city by Camino de Cruces National Park. On planning this trip, it looked like the only way to get to the Locks was by Uber, Taxi or Tour Group. However, with Rod’s smart planning, we were able to use the public system ($1.60 return each) and got there with no issues.
I don’t know why, but I thought there would be a line-up of ships waiting to go through the locks. However, it was about a two hour wait before we were to witness the slow procedure. Good thing there was an excellent museum and restaurant that allowed us to pass the time in comfort and out of the +35C degree heat.
Looking to the north
Looking at the center of the Locks. You can see the different heights of the water.
Looking south. Panama City is located to the left of this photo.
Eastern coastline. The Locks are located to the left of this photo.
A huge neo-Panamax ship passes through a third wider lock. This expanded canal was created to allow transit of larger ships that carry more cargo.
We finally get to see the procedure of a ship passing through.
You’ll notice the change in water level from the previous photo.
The captain does not navigate through this. It was run by two railed vehicles on both sides. You can see the tethered ropes guiding it through.
The precious cargo
Heading south. Who knows where the destination would be.
It was about 30 minutes from the first photo to the last photo
Road conditions on our recent return from Edmonton was fraught with icy patches brought on by thick fog. Looking at the landscape, you see all the frost clinging onto trees and whatever they can cling onto.
The photos starts off outside of Edmonton, Albert and ends outside of Saskatoon, Sask. I had taken these with my iPhone since my trusty Nikon was tucked inside a camera bag inside a gym bag located at the very back of the car.
On November 1st, the public is invited to bring their carved pumpkins to Rotary Park to be part of a wonderful evening display. I was amazed at some of the intricate carvings that were created. It was gorgeous night and the event was appreciated by all. Kudos to the Nutana Community Association for their efforts.
Because the return flights from the same destination are less expensive, we arrived and departed from Madrid. I felt it fitting that the Parc de Retiro be my last post of our Spain Adventure. The park is located just behind our hotel and it was the first thing we visited when we arrived and the last thing we visited when we departed.
This huge 125 hectares park has more than 15,000 trees with the Bald Cypress, one of the oldest trees at around 400 years old. A favourite for locals to participate in sports, especially running and soccer. The park is also home to architectural beauties such as Palacio de Cristal and the Palacio de Velazquez which are currently used for exhibitions.
Our first visit
After we had our jet lag snooze, we arrived at the Park when the sun was setting. It was a short visit but enough to keep ourselves awake to get in sync with Madrid time.
On the south edge of the park, this pedway runs width-wise from one side of the park to the other. Due to the small rise in this stretch, we found many runners making use of this challenge. Our hotel is located just to the left of the bottom of the path.
Being February, the leafless trees still looked beautiful
Fuente del Angel Caido
The Sports area includes soccer field, tennis courts and basket ball courts
Our last visit
We start at the northwest corner of the park and wander through to the south end
The entrance at Calle de Alcala
Palacio de Velazquez
Estanque Grande del Retiro
We join the locals to watch the setting sun
Monument Alfonso XII
Palacio de Cristal
Heading back to our hotel to pack for home
Good-bye Madrid. Good-bye Spain.
My last post of Barcelona is a compilation of photos that did not fit in any of my Barcelona posts. They depict various sights during our four day visit.
A Bullring that is now a shopping centre
Entering the park at the Museu Catalunya
Providing a nice solo sax tune at the Olympic Stadium
A night view of the Arenas de Barcelona
The invasion of the green Monk Parakeets. Originally from Argentina, they were brought to Spain as pets and started colonizing the city
A reflection of Cafe Del Mar from their overhead mirrors. This outdoor restaurant is located at the Maremagnum Shopping Centre at the Ferry Terminal
The use of balcony space
Office building across the street from our hotel. A combination of reflection and room occupation.
The Industrial Park located next door to our hotel – Hotel Catalunya (the tall grey/blue building)
A very busy Parc Guell
Waiting for the subway train at the Placa de Catalunya station
A school excursion to a live performance theatre
Huge bubbles at the Cathedral
Arc de Triomf at the top entrance of Parc de la Ciutadella
Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Catalunya
David Bowie and Salvador Dali…a suited combination
Shaded boulevard on Av. d’lcaria
A deserted beach
Looking back at our climb to Parc Guell