Caminatas y Batidos de Fresa

Trip Start Jan 23, 2007
Trip End Dec 24, 2007

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Flag of Panama  ,
Monday, July 16, 2007

Getting to Boquete from Bocas was a breeze, and despite the various changes needed, we left mid morning and got there late afternoon.

On arrival, we were a little worried at first as the first 2 places looked for a room were full (this never happens to us) but thankfully a kind stranger pointed us in the right direction, and we got a comfortable room. The first evening we enjoyed a big meal, and the first of many Batidos de Fresa - like an icy Strawberry smoothie....Wow!

The next day we made the most of the cooler weather in the highlands (about 1000m here) to have a lazy sleep-in under the duvet (what a treat!), before finally getting our act together and going for a long walk in the surrounding hills. The countryside was beautiful - big coffee plantations broken up by the occasional house or cascading clear stream. We saw a armadillo squished on the road (we didn't even know they existed here until we saw it there), which was interesting in its own way - if you wanted to see what a flat armadillo looks like, sorry, Francie wouldn't let Sam take a photo!

Walking back into town in the afternoon, their was a big drum band practising in the street - we could hear it for at least 3 hours after we passed them, and they continued into the dark, in the pouring rain - devotion. In the afternoon we rested - Francie dozing while Sam watched Brazil thrash Argentina 3-0 in the Copa America.

The next morning we woke early with the intention of walking the 'Quetzal trail' - one of the best places to see the amazing bird in the whole of Central America. Unfortunately it was raining pretty hard when we woke, and we didn't feel all that great about busing 3 hours to the trail entrance for the walk back if it was going to pouring down. So we decided to go back to sleep and walk somewhere else!

Naturally when we woke up a couple of hours later, the clouds had cleared, and there was a beautiful clear view over Volcan Baru, where we were supposed to have walked. Didn't work out that bad though, as we enjoyed a great walk in the hills behind Boquete. Boquete itself looks beautiful from above - snuggly fitting into the surrounding hills like a European ski resort (without the snow).

We had been walking for about 2 hours, thinking we had only got about a fifth of the way on the map, when we rounded a corner, and suddenly it was apparent that actually we'd got half way there. Again, the scenery was beautiful - views down the valley toward the coast, and across to towering Volcan Baru were incredible, and our eyes kept drifting back to them as we walked.

Excitingly for Sam, and slightly scarily for Fran (although Fran will no doubt rat on Sam and tell everyone how he yelped and tried to hide behind her!), we saw a small snake during the walk - its brilliant green colouring and stealthy movements camouflaging it perfectly, making it hard for us to keep track of it in the long grass on the roadside. While it was only about 4 feet long, and only about as thick as an index finger, we still felt very intrepid indeed (doesn't quite match the story of a German couple we met in Granada who stepped on a python in Australia though!!).

The walk down was gruesome - extremely steep for about an hour of the hour and a half descent. Had we chosen to walk up this way, we would have died!!

That night we celebrated with yet more Fresa Batidos, and yet another hearty meal. If you come for Panama for any reason, you must buy these - thats an order!!
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