Our stop-over between Stockholm and Panama was in Lisbon and just happened to coincide with the Euro 2016 Final. The nation was so gripped that there were updates on metro display boards, and streets and squares were busy with people watching the game on outdoor screens.
Our bed for the night was in an elegant, 19th century style room simply called 1812.
We spent the evening taking in the city views over some vinho verde.
The following day we left Europe’s shores for Central America, arriving in hot, humid and bustling Panama City by late evening. Choosing Casco Viejo as our main area to explore, we could see the more developed high-rise area of the city in the distance…
…but preferred to focus on the sights in the charming historic quarter where we were based.
Some of the buildings were just beautiful shells, only the walls remaining…
…and Niina was fascinated by the variety of doorways – some pristine, some neglected.
You can’t stay in Panama City without visiting the famous canal.
The city is on the Pacific side and at Miraflores Locks – the site we visited – ships pass through two large locks in order to be raised from sea level up to the level of the lake that they pass through.
From Panama City, we moved on to the cooler climate of Boquete in the mountain region. The final leg of the journey was on board an old US schoolbus, a common sight in Panama.
The owners of our lodging were clearly into their classic British motorcycles and Tintin!
The town was surrounded by peaks, rich in flora and fauna, which made for rather good mountain biking territory.
Nearby, in a secluded location up a couple of steep hills, one may chance upon the enchanting private gardens of El Explorador…
… featuring quirky installations, each with their own piece of sage advice, at every turn.
Next stop is Bocas del Toro, on the Caribbean coast.