2017: Panama


Panama City. Love the vibe of this city, especially Casco Viejo - great combo of hip, coffee, beautiful and old & rusty. Must go is the fish market!

A birthday story. From Taboga, Balboa, All-you-can-eat buffet, cakes, chicken-wings and more...

Well, I decided to just write about it - as I have been doing it for the past 1,5 years now with all of theses things...

First of all THANK YOU very much for all these individual and great birthday messages - photos, videos, stories and joint memories from our times from all over the world! It was really great to hear from all of you and to see that even though you might be far away physically you are not completely forgotten 😉

So how was my day? Last year I celebrated alone in a backcountry hut in New Zealand with rainy weather and no contact to the outside world. The first two people who I met and wished me happy birthday were Tony and Belinda who I met on the only hill with a view in three days. It was a great encounter and I am glad we kept this friendship up over the distance...

This year was a bit different. My friend good Annabel had requested a flight (that's what you do when you are a flight attendant) to Panama to bring me some of my new outdoor equipment for the trail which I had ordered in Germany. And she will also take some of my stuff back home which I won't take on the trail. And it also brought me in the amazing situation of living in a bad-ass hotel for free with all the comfort that I won't have for the next month: showers, toilets, beds, pillows, room-serive (YEAH!!!!), pool, breakfast buffet, fast and stable wifi and so much more... THANK YOU Annabel for being my personal courier service 😘 And on top of course Panama is the home of Natalia, Scott and Barry I already had a blast last time I was in Panama - so perfect setting for this day.

13.04.2017 - probably about half time until retirement!!!! 😎🤘

After having a coulple of beers sliding into the birthday the day started out with a little surprise birthday cake at 12h.


And then it continued with breakfast buffet - all you can eat! Free and unlimited coffee. Hikers-Heaven!!!!



Well and then we decided to go to Taboga Island for the day. No day - especially not my birthday - without hiking or climbing on top of something...


And then we started with the relaxing part of the day. Thanks to Arne for bringing up this quote from the famous Harald Juhnke a couple of days earlier - so this became a bit of the motto for the rest of the day...22c2352ed9a9713be20e39848687017c


My wish for the night was to back to B-Dubs where Barry and I had tackled the hottest level of wings - the Blazin Wings - during my last visit. It was amazingly spicy, fun and let to the one or other loss of mother tounge. So we went again for a great evening and some nice "Blazers"...


Warm up - this time we were smarter and worked our way up...
And we survived!

Scott made us go back to his place under a very false and tricky reason to present this - a home made cake just for me! You are the man, Scotty!!! Thank you for the surprise!


Since it is the "semana santa" there was a stop of serving alcohol at 12 o'clock in the night. The great thing about being in South America there are always very simple solutions for certain problems. So at 12 the doors were closed and the blinds were shut and with this drinking was basically non existent 😂 The night ended like most nights - at one point of time also the happiest and most active king is tired and has to go to bed. But can you fall asleep happier than this - with a crown and a beer...


Thank you all for an amazing day in civilisation with great food, drinks and amazing company! You rock!!! 🤘

Panama. Come and visit - it’s worth it!

Before Christmas and the journey further south I decided to visit my friends Natalia & Scott in Panama. What can I say - I love this place. Panama is definitely worth a trip! A highlight already the view from my homestay.



Panama City basically has two different areas in the city - the newer business district with many high rises and the old quarter called “Casco Viejo”.

View from the old fish market over the new part of the city

Casco Viejo - the old quarter


That’s where we went for the first evening. For one thing Panama feels very safe. The walkway along the shore is great and Casco Viejo is fantastic. It has a great vibe. The mixture between old, rustic, partly torn down and new & fancy has it’s own character. The streets are full of live at night and from the bars and restaurants you can hear music and people enjoying themselves. Also a lot of people on the streets. I really enjoyed it. It has a bit of the life in a Spanish or Italian city. Until not long ago it used to be a part of the town which you did not want to visit - especially at night…


Saturday Scott and I had an important date - a yoga class at 11h. Now I have to say that my link to yoga has been extremely limited so far. In my first yoga session I got kicked out after two minutes because I couldn’t stop laughing. And maybe a couple more during seminars - but I have never gone to a real class after my first session. So a big thing for me 😂. I guess I am more mature and I again more open for new stuff - I didn’t get kicked out and really enjoyed it. My hiker legs are stiff and inflexible...

After lunch we wanted to visit the Panama Canal. What can I say. Lunch, a few beers, a few beers more and when we were ready to go the visitor centre was closed already. So we decided to call it a day and went for tapas, and finally a nice chicken wings and Football session. I would definitely recommend the “blain hot” wings - others that night would probably not… 😂

The will (the sign) was there - the execution (the missing part) in that restroom needs some more effort...

Sunday we went to the Islas San Blas. They are about 360 small islands in the Caribbean Sea very close to the northern coast of Panama. Our driver picked us up at 5.30 and on the way to the Islands we were witnesses of what to do when the police in Panama stops you because your headlights don’t work - you just get out of the car and hit the fender twice until they work again… 🤘

The islands are amazing. Crystal clear water and fine sand beaches. My first time to the Caribbean. If you ever go on a trip to San Blas, a few recommendations:
1. A perfect time to change into your swimming pants is before you go on the boat! You are gonna get soaked on the way out in the little boats.
2. Make sure that your tour makes a stop in “La Piscina” which is a very shallow sandbank where you can stand on in the middle of the ocean and it’s ground is covered in star fish.
3. Try to limit your tour to max one or two islands on a day trip or you end up hopping on and off the islands constantly without having time to enjoy.

I guess the pictures speak a clear language on how awful it was...









The next day I spent in exploring the city during daylight again. Just a few impressions of Casco Viejo again and the beautiful scenery. Nice little bars and cafes everywhere which invite you to rest for a bit and get out of the sun.









Of course I couldn’t leave without visiting the Panama Canal at the end. Since we only almost made it on Saturday I started a second attempt today. The new Miraflores Visitor Centre is definitely worth a visit. They have a very interesting and interactive museum providing a lot of information. They also have many miniature models of the ships, cranes and other tools they have used to built the canal. And of course you - if you are lucky and/or wait for a bit - get to see a ship passing through the locks getting lifted up or lowered down.



Next morning we head out to play a round of golf with Christian and Barry. The course layout was quite spectacular with a lot of elevation, dog legs, water and other challenges which needed to be considered. Unfortunately the maintenance and condition of the course were rather poor. Quite a shame for such a beautiful spot, nested in the rainforest. But nevertheless it was great to go out and be able to bet the crap out of the little white balls again. I just love this game! Reminded me again of one of my most used phrases in my work life: “A bad day on the golf course is still better than a good day at work!” 😂

Natalia, Scott and I rounded my “vacation” up with a nice dinner and a few drinks in Casco Viejo.


What can I say - a completely different program to the nature focus in Costa Rica the last weeks but just great. I can definitely recommend Panama for a visit! Put it on your bucket list.

Thank you Natalia & Scott for hosting and taking care of me!! I really enjoyed my time in Panama. Also thanks to Christian and Barry for taking me out and the great laughs. I will come back for the chicken wings challenge!