Panama to San Francisco!

Wending our way up the west cost of Central America, Mexico and the USA, we visited Puntarenas, Costa Rica, Corinto/Leon, Nicaragua, Manzanilla & Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Los Angeles & San Francisco, California.

One of the many active volcanoes found in the Leon area of Nicaragua

I was glad we were stopping in Nicaragua, because in 2018 we were not able to do so due to political problems at the time.   I found out this time, those problems were caused by the imposition of an arbitrary tax increase by the government.   Most people felt it was too high and unfair, and it led to protests and shootings in the streets. It also caused a collapse of their much needed tourism industry.

The black Christ. He was saved from the original church. The Spanish thought he was made of gold and painted black. They took him out of the church and cut off his leg only to find he was made of mahogany wood so left him there. The people “rescued” and kept him until he was able to be placed back in the cathedral when it was rebuilt.
The beautiful Roman Catholic Leon Cathedral in Leon. Construction began in 1747 and today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

We visited Leon, the old capital and a lovely colonial city.  It was built after the original capital city, now Leon Viego and built by the Spanish in 1524, was buried in ash and stood completely undisturbed until 1967.   Leon Viego is known as the “Pompeii of Central America” and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site offering a remarkable glimpse  into 16th Century life in one of the earliest Spanish colonial settlements.

One of the art galleries found in beautiful old homes in Leon. The paintings are mostly “in the manor of” or from “the school of”, but they have some lovely works. Unfortunately they are open to the elements and they control humidity for example with the use of fans. Our guide told us they are often out for repair.
The resident art gallery turtle.
Pat & I enjoying a cold local ber ‘Tonia” just outside the old cathedral.

The capital was then moved from Leon to Managua and it was a popular, booming destination for tourists until 1972, when an earthquake destroyed the city and it has never really fully recovered.   Our guide actually played a song called “Managua, Nicaragua” recorded by Canadian Guy Lombardo back in the 1940s.  Check it out if you can.  Today they are pinning their hopes on the return of the tourists to this lovely country.

Sailing into San Francisco under the beautiful Golden Gate bridge – trust me! It is there!!

Arriving in San Francisco, one of the special experiences when you arrive via ship, is to sail in under the beautiful Golden Gate bridge. The Horizon lounge on the ship was full, and you couldn’t get a seat anywhere to watch from the panoramic windows at the top of the ship.  It was cold outside.   It’s been cold since Los Angeles, and the band was bravely playing on deck.  Some hardy souls were out there waiting and watching, and watching and watching ……. but the Golden Gate bridge had disappeared!!  Soon we could see the Alcatraz and downtown San Francisco, but looking back, still no bridge.  It was invisible, obscured by fog!!

“Happy Birthday dear Pat”……. Birthday dinner and saying goodbye.
The Bay/Oakland Bridge at night from my cabin.

This is the end of the first segment of our voyage around the world.  It has been memorable, with missed ports, five days of heavy weather & seas, and a virus outbreak and lots of hand washing. So those of us who are going on from here were offered a free tour of San Francisco while they sanitized the whole ship.  We had to remove everything from all surfaces in our cabins for them to do this, and then not go back for several hours. Also, I was sad to see my friend Pat from Arizona depart here. But the nicest part of San Francisco was the new passengers who boarded  – many of them our old friends from the 2018 Around the World.  I can’t tell you how special it is to reacquaint with these old friends.

Yes! The Golden Gate Bridge has reappeared!! Here we are about to sail out under it into the Pacific and back down the west coast of the US, Mexico, Central America and on to South America.

6 responses to “Panama to San Francisco!”

  1. John ‘s favourite beer over our Xmas holiday in Nicaragua! Really a beautiful country and I bet you know that song, if not I will sing it for you when you return. Maybe you are tooo young to have heard it on radio! Kids visited the volcano also. So glad tourism is coming back but loved being able to spend time on beaches that seem to go for miles and hardly anyone on them. They are planning to return because they loved how unspoiled it was, like the Caribbean many , many years ago with such friendly people. Happy travels xo Ruby

    Sent from my iPad



    1. I thought it was really nice and lovely people. Always with a smile. I will hold you to that song when I get back. I was much too young to remember!! :-))) RIGHT!!
      You are right – like the Caribbean of old. Loving my travels and adventures!! xoPat


  2. Hi Pat, Sounds like you are really enjoying yourself on this cruise. When do you ever NOT enjoy your travels?? The zip lining experience sounds like something Tom and I really want to do, NOT!!!!!
    We are looking forward to joining you on the Tokyo to San Francisco segment of the World Cruise in June.

    South Florida is experiencing a beautiful winter. Highs in the mid 70s and lows in the mid 50’s. Everyone here is looking forward to tonight’s Super Bowl in Miami. We will watch it from the comfort of home.

    Keep having fun. We look forward to reading about your future adventures. Please try to stay safe – if that is even possible, you adrenalin junky!
    Love Betty


    1. Hi Betty & Tom – Yes I am having a great time so far. Pat was on from Miami to San Francisco and she enjoyed herself so much she is coming back on in Tokyo also. It was sold out at one point but two cabins opened up and she got one. It has been very hot in Mexico and Central America – in the 90s and very humid. But I am not really complaining. The weather has been perfect after the five days of heavy seas before Panama. There have been some changes to our itinerary re China because of coronavirus, but so far other than the GI problem we had earlier, everything seems to be fine. Lots of love Pat


  3. Glad to hear where you are! The mermaids were thinking of you. Now we are hearing of Cruise ships
    with people carrying the Coronavirus but they are on the other side of the world. Your captain may make some itinerary changes. Grant & I are going to Jamaica tomorrow. Like your blog.


    1. Hi Alice, Good to hear from you and give my love to the mermaids when you are there next. Yes we are all watching the cruise ships over in Asia. So far we have been healthy – a little GI scare earlier – but that has cleared up. Crew is continually disinfecting and passengers are encouraged to wash their hands often and use the disinfectant that is around the ship. You are correct. We have had two itinerary changes recently and there could me more. They have removed all ports and visits in China. So we will see…. Enjoy Jamaica and travel safely, Love to you both, Pat


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