Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year - A Family Celebration with History & Fireworks in Panama City, Panama


Our family loves to travel. During the last week and a half of December my hubbie, four high schoolers and I did something we'd never done before. We took a trip to several countries in Central America, including Panama. Though we've since returned from this exotic vacation, I'm still on a high from our latest adventure.

Panama City, Panama Skyline view from our hotel room
Panama was particularly memorable. First we wandered the streets of Panama City's historical district Casco Viejo, which was built back in 1671 as a walled city to protect the settlement's inhabitants from pirate invasions. Time has taken its toll on the locale's buildings and as recently as ten years ago the city appeared destined to eventually become nothing more than a pile of rubble. Luckily, UNESCO stepped up to the plate and in 2003, the oldest part of Panama City was designated a World Heritage Site. As we walked through this Old World neighborhood, it was exhilarating to see signs of restoration efforts in progress on almost every corner.

Casco Viejo: Old, Renovated and New Again...

Then, to balance the old with the new, we visited one of the Seven Modern Day Wonders of the World, the Panama Canal which was completed in 1914. On the last day of 2012, almost a century later, what a thrill it was to witness first-hand the gigantic commercial ships navigating through the massive double locks at MiraFlores which closed and opened as each vessel was lowered down to sea level at the Pacific Ocean.

Finally, several hours after feasting our eyes on the unbelievably beautiful sunset  below, we welcomed 2013 by enjoying the jewel like fireworks show at midnight from our seaside Panama City high rise hotel room. 

As you will see below, the aerial display over the Pacific last night was absolutely stunning. Enjoy this video that was shot by my oldest son with his Nokia Lumia 822 from Verizon Wireless. 

Best Wishes for a
Healthy, Happy & Prosperous
New Year to All

Panama Hat Stand in the Old City, the ultimate Panama souvenir
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