At 3PM I woke up and we headed in to the Old City, Casco Viejo, to look for some art, some Panama Hats (made in Ecuador), and eventually grab some dinner. Casco Viejo was really lovely – I would have enjoyed it much more had I been feeling 100%. Cobblestone streets, old 17th/18th century Spanish buildings that had been restored (similar to the feel in Havana, but in much better condition), little craft stores and galleries, as well as your standard tourist trap junk at every turn. We stopped for a mojito (well, Dave did) at a little mojito kiosk, and again were shocked by the prices. Casco Viejo also offered beautiful views of the downtown, and the Ancon Mountain (the highest point in the city). It would have been nice to take a guided walking tour, but instead we opted to do our own thing. All landmarks and monuments were conveniently labeled in English, making self-guiding easy. We had scoped out several hat stores, and eventually I found a hat I liked. There were 3 prices offered – cheap ($25), medium ($130), and expensive ($500). We kept asking around to try to understand the differences, and it seemed to….
I wasn’t feeling great the night before walking around Panama City downtown, but pulled myself together enough to make it to the Panama Canal. I had stomach cramps – so I knew something was going on in the GI region. I immediately took some Ciproflaxin, Imodium, and Gas-X all together and continued taking them throughout the next 2 days until the cramps subsided. I was glad this happened in Panama and NOT in Cuba….
Traveling to Panama from Havana took 2.5 hours on Copa Airlines, similar to what we experienced on the way in to Havana, except the meal service was slightly different – sandwiches instead of a hot meal, and they remembered my special fruit meal this time around. I’m planning to write a separate review of this Copa Airlines flight 437 later….
After the museum, it was time to turn in our rental car and head to the airport, where we’d be leaving Cuba. When we picked up our car, we were charged a 150 CUC deposit, which we were told we could get back at the end as long as the car checked out, and we had also negotiated the 25 CUC airport drop-off fee into a 10 CUC fee for a driver to drive us in the rental car to the airport….
After we made our art purchases, we decided that we wouldn’t have time for the Hemingway Museum (located about 30 minutes outside of the city), and that we’d walk around a bit more and hit the Museum of the Revolution (Museo de la Revoluciòn) instead. We started out going back to the square we visited the previous night to get some good pictures of Spanish colonial architecture in the daylight….