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Dear Luke and Leia,
Today we are strolling through Casco Viejo, the oldest part of Panama City. Its brick paved streets make you feel like time has warped and you’ve stepped back into an age where life was much simpler and details were more fascinating. The bright colors, wrought iron and bold arches of Casco's Spanish architecture give such a warm appearance that they match that of the people living here.
There are so many shops and restaurants in this area that one could spend two weeks in Casco Viejo and not eat at the same place twice. We found a place on a roof top with spectacular views of both the old Casco and new modern metropolis Panama City.
As you look about, the culture and character of the people are displayed in the lives and crafts around you. Children play in the streets with the simplest of toys, while around the next corner a local dressed in the national dress is proudly walking towards a festival. Arts and crafts tell of the history of these people who now make up the Panamanians whom we have come to know and love.
A tale of three cities
It seems wild as the contrasting views of old and new come together here in Casco Viejo, especially knowing its history. Panama City is actually a tale of three cities with birth, disaster and recovery to final world-wide glory. Panama Viejo (old Panama) is the oldest of the settlements and sacked by Captain Morgan in the 1500’s.
Panama City #2
The survivors relocated to a more defensible location on a small peninsula jutting out into the Pacific Ocean, and this is today's Casco Viejo. Or Casco Antiguo. Take your pick.
The Panama City of today
Finally, the modern day city, with buildings touching the clouds, is a full display of abundance and victory as any other modern city in the world. Panama has burst upon the world financial scene, completely overcoming the disasters of her past, to now be called the Singapore of the West.
Yes, we love Panama City and especially Casco Viejo.
Nana and Pap