An early morning bus from Leon to Managua (another capital with a bad reputation) put me on the plane for the short flight to Panama City.
The world heritage site here comprises two distinct sections some kilometres away from one another. Panama Viejo is the remains of the first settlement founded in 1519 and abandoned in 1673. The site was never rebuilt and is now a public park containing the ruins of churches, public buildings and houses. It is also in a rather dangerous neighbourhood and that coupled with lack of time meant that I didn’t actually visit it.
I did however stay in and walk all around the historic district, the area to which the town was moved in the seventeenth century, although most buildings are later. This is on a small section of land sticking out into the sea and whilst reasonably safe itself (thanks in part to the large number of tourist police patrolling) it is adjacent to more bad areas that we were warned to avoid after dark.
Many buildings in the historic district have fallen in to serious dilapidation in recent decades although some have or are being renovated now. The contrast with the view over the bay to a forest of gleaming high-rises is striking.
It was hard to find something to build in Lego and in the end I settled for this house, which is very similar, with its first floor balcony and deep eaves, to those in many of the other historic towns I’ve visited over the last few months.
As in previous similar models, I’ve not yet found a convincing way to do the balcony railings – you just have to fill them in yourself.