Viva la Independencia!

Trip Start Oct 16, 2013
Trip End Mar 09, 2013

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Flag of Panama  , Chiriquí,
Sunday, November 3, 2013

Day 18: 3 November 2013

Bocas del Toro -> Almirante -> Changuinola -> David -> Boquete

We headed off to get the water taxi and were soon back on the mainland. We got a taxi to the bus station in Changuinola. This was definately the strangest one yet as the luggage was strapped to the roof because there was no space inside the bus, the driver was driving like a maniac, the conductor kept moving everyone (mainly the children) around at the stops as there weren't enough seats for everyone (I had 2 little boys sleeping on me most of the way), people were stealing other peoples seats when we stopped for a break, they were playing really loud local music the ENTIRE way, and like in Costa Rica the bus stops anywhere there is people. Needless to say we were happy when we reached David and we could escape. This time to an old yellow school bus to take us to Boquete.

We arrived as the Independence parade was on so we had to get off the bus and walk the rest of the way. Again we had some problems trying to find a bed for the night because of the fiestas. We ran into a woman by chance who had dropped by the hostel she was renovating as we passed. She said we were welcome to stay there for the night if we wanted but technically they weren't open yet so it would just be us. Thankfully some other people turned up later as having a whole hostel to yourself is a bit creepy!

As it was a rainy sunday afternoon there wasn't a huge amount for us to see... we had some lunch, booked a tour of a nearby coffee plantation for tomorrow, grabbed a coffee, booked accommodation for Panama City, went for a walk by the river, tried a Panama beer, before heading back to the hostel for a supermarket dinner. I bought fruit and yoghurt and Anna had tuna and crackers. As the kitchen wasn't really usable Anna ate her tuna with her penknife and I functioned a spoon from my yoghurt lid :)

Day 19: 4 November 2013

Boquete -> David -> Panama City

On the way to the coffee plantation we got to see the Volcan Baru which had been covered in clouds since we arrived. The plantation was called Milagrosa and Don Tito has been making coffee here for over 30 years. It is eco friendly as most of the process is done by hand, they don't use pesticides and all of the machinery was made by them from recycled material. We had a walk around the plantation, picked, shelled and tasted the beans from one of the trees and saw how they dry the beans in the sun and select the better ones for the coffee. Inside the plant we saw the machines, got to meet Tito and roasted some beans. While they were roasting the smell was amazing! When they were ready we tried the beans and had a cup of coffee. It was really nice so I bought a bag to take home with me. The coffee was called Royal after Tito's parents Rosa y Alfredo. You can tell our guide loves coffee as he was really knowledgeable about the whole process and coffee in general. He told us the pros and cons of drinking it and how to tell if it was a good coffee or not. Most ones for sale in supermarkets don't have any actual coffee in them or much caffeine. They are made with maiz and coffee flavouring!

After the tour we grabbed some lunch (stewed beef with peppers and onions and corn bread) and watched some of the parade before catching the bus back to David to go to Panama City. This was our longest journey yet (7.5 hrs :( ) but it passed quite quickly and soon we were in a taxi heading to our hostel in the Casco Viejo.
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