1. January – Casco Viejo
On the first day of January 2022, I strolled through Casco Viejo in Panama, after ringing in the New Year in Coronado, a teeming costal expat community on the Pacific Coast.
Casco Viejo or Casco Antiguo is a historical, charming and vibrant neighborhood.
“Considered a UNESCO Cultural World Heritage Site, the district dates back to 1673, and features vibrant plazas and picturesque brick-paved streets surrounded by colorful buildings. The area is ideal for walking, discovering history and enjoying a variety of fine cuisine. Come for some of the city’s best gastronomy, culture and photo ops, and stay to mingle with the locals in the heart of the nightlife scene.”
2. April – Canada – Bata Shoe Museum
For my birthday in April, I planned a trip to Uruguay. On the way down, I spent two days in Toronto, visiting friends and I also took the opportunity to check out the Bata Shoe Museum.
I was happy to learn about the history and evolution of footwear and how footwear is steeped in tradition for certain cultures.
The Bata Shoe Museum is home to one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of shoes and footwear-related objects.
Founding Chairman, Sonja Bata began collecting footwear in the late 1940s and when her collection outgrew available storage space, she commissioned award-winning architect Raymond Moriyama, of Moriyama and Teshima Architects, to create a “small gem of a museum” in downtown Toronto.
The museum houses over 13,000 shoes but only 3-4% are on display at any time.
3. April – Uruguay (Wineries, Punta del Este, Museo Andes)
The Uruguayan wine scene is very underrated.
I visited two wineries, Bodega Spinoglio and Bodega Bouza
We hear a lot about the Mendoza region in Argentina 🇦🇷 renowned for the “Malbec” grape 🍇 but have you ever heard of “Tannat” for which Uruguay 🇺🇾 is becoming known?
So if you’re into wine 🍷 travel/tourism, please add Uruguay to your list.
Los Dedos (The Fingers)
The sculpture was made by Chilean artist Mario Irarrázabal during the summer of 1982, while he was attending the first annual International Meeting of Modern Sculpture in the Open Air in Punta del Este
Museo–Taller de Casapueblo
The visit to this “unique” museum is part of the tour to Punta Del Este and it is highly and overly promoted.
“The exterior of this curious museum is as intriguing as the collections inside, thanks to the creative mind of its founder, Carlos Páez Vilaró. Although he wasn’t an architect, Páez designed and built this rambling Gaudí-esque structure, which was inspired by brick bread ovens. It was a lifetime project of 40 years. Described in the designer’s words as a “fight against straight lines,” the museum is all curves and spirelike points. Its activity offerings are as unique as the edifice itself; at dusk every day since 1994, for example, visitors at the museum have participated in a sun ceremony, during which staff members play a recording of Páez reading a poem dedicated to the sun.”
It is reputed to be one of the best places to watch the sun set just where the Atlantic Ocean and the Rio Plato meet.
Páez Vilaro’ was a friend of Picasso.
“50 years ago, on Friday, October 13, 1972, a Uruguayan Fairchild 227 airplane carrying a rugby team of young men on board crashed in the Andes. This was the beginning of one of the most overwhelming stories of survival in human history.
Initially, 32 people survived the plane crash against one of the world’s highest mountain ranges. Many of the passengers were seriously injured. At almost 4000 metres above sea level, with neither appropriate clothing nor food, surrounded and trapped in the mountains, they were virtually doomed to perish from the extremely low temperatures.
Their very limited provisions, consisting of a few sweets, some cans of food and a couple of bottles of alcoholic beverages, quickly ran out. For ten long days they waited to be rescued. Then they heard on the small pocket receiver that the search had been called off.
It was the Holy Week and after 3 days In Uruguay, I finally saw a church in Punta Del Este.
In any other Latin American country, this week would be the biggest religious observation e.g. Dominican Republic 🇩🇴- “Semana Santa”.
“When Argentina’s Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio became Pope Francis, Uruguay’s then President José Mujica didn’t attend the inauguration. “Uruguay is a totally lay country,” explained Mujica at the time. “There is separation of church and state since the last century. Uruguay is different from the rest of Latin America regarding this. We have great respect, there is freedom of worship, but we are not believers.””
However, In Uruguay where there is a strict separation between Church and State, many Uruguayans do not profess a religious faith and many of those who do, profess Roman Catholicism even though they may not practice same. This week is known as “Tourism Week”.
4. April – Miami
Two things I always do when I visit Miami, are, 1) to seek out the best vegan spot and 2)to do a practice recreational shooting session at Lock & Load Indoor Shooting Range in the Wynwood District.
For vegan food Planta Queen is my favorite spot.
It’s a wrap for the first half of 2022. Stay tuned for part 2.