Whenever we go to a new town, we like to check out the marinas and drool over the boats. So when we were in Panama City, Florida, we decided to check out the two marinas run by the city – St Andrew’s and City (an original name, don’t you think). And rather than drive from one to the other, we decided to walk. Because the great thing about going for a long walk is that you don’t feel so guilty having chocolate cake at night.
We started off our walk from our awesome free camping site – none other than a municipal parking lot in the heart of Panama City which allows 24 hour parking. Free and right in the middle of this historic St Andrew’s district – what could be better?
Just across the street is St Andrew’s marina.
This sailboat looked like it had been abandoned. We were tempted to spirit her away, but we barely have enough room in Scamper for the two of us, let alone a sailboat. I also think Scamper gets jealous when we talk about buying a boat. She worries that we’ll abandon her.
As you walk around the St Andrew’s marina, you come across a number of signposted landmarks. I particularly liked this one – The Pelican Tree. After the devastating impact of Hurricane Opal in 1995, effort went into rebuilding the St Andrew’s area. The Pelican Tree was once a live oak tree, but after it was destroyed by Opal, a chainsaw architect re-purposed it into The Pelican Tree – a symbol of rebuilding the community.
We poked around the St Andrew’s neighborhood. Lots of shops, restaurants, cafes – many of which have a nautical theme. Like this shark. This is my favorite kind of shark – tied up and not in the water. Sharks scare the crap out of me. Just ask Scott about that time in Tahiti where I freaked out when I saw a shark. Better yet, don’t ask him because I just end up looking stupid when he tells the story.
If you’ve read this blog before, then you’ll know Scott loves taking pictures of old signs – like this one.
Next, we headed over to the Oaks by the Bay Park on the waterfront. I love neighborhood parks – they don’t always get mentioned in guidebooks, but they’re often great to wander about and see how the locals live. They have a four headed palm tree there – kind of like the Medusa of the plant world.
We strolled out on the boardwalk in the park to get a view of where our walk was going to take us.
The aptly named Beach Road takes you from one end of Panama City to the next. Lots of cute houses along the water. It’s the type of place where folks also own the water frontage. Some are set up with chairs and decorated. This place had a hippo hunkered down on the beach. I guess if you’re the homeowner, it’s nice to have private access to the beach across the way, but I think there is something to be said for beaches and coastlines having public access.
As you stroll through the neighborhoods, people wave and say hello. We’ve been struck by how incredibly friendly people have been. It’s a genuine kind of friendly, not the kind of friendly that seems calculated. Walking through Panama City evokes nostalgia for America past.
After a while you get to a more commercial part of the city. For some reason, this sign cracked me up. I’m not sure either of these doors is the right one. Scott didn’t really get my interest in this, but he took the picture anyway.
And then we got to City Marina. There was a lot of construction going on, so it probably isn’t looking its best just now. But it was still nice to check out the boats and have a little rest before heading back.
On our way back, we explored downtown Panama City. Scott got to take some more pictures of old buildings and signs, so he was happy. We also had a beer, so I think that made him even happier.
And then, it was back to St Andrews marina, just in time to enjoy the sunset.
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We walked from marina to marina in Panama City on 21 January 2015.