It is a great mountain drive, and I even got the sun in my back. The first part is in a rather dry area with some pines, yellow grass and barren rocks. One stretch have lots of tent-shops with colourful clay-work, hammocks and alike, probably to the locals on holyday. The roads are almost empty this Sunday morning, but a single tuck-driver have managed to throw his 18-weeler on the side. I don't blame him: This road ask to be driven fast! I stop a few times, but completely fail to capture the greatness of the landscape.
surroundings get greener, as the road assents, and it get misty. First,
broad-leafed trees take advantages, along with small farmers
with beans, then the
huge farms with bananas and alike. Then huge farms with corn and cattle.
Then it is 80 kilometres back south, but by a slightly different route. I end up at the huge Lago de Yojoa, I passed on the way up. I find my modern hotel way out back, and get a cheep dorm-bed - later. I use their Wi-Fi to find yet another ticket for Nicaragua. Apparently, I can't go directly the the town I have booked a car at, but I have some spare days anyway. I just wished I didn't have to be at the terminal at 4;15 AM!
I head back to the large village; Pena Blanca, and find some lunch: tacos with the filling aside along with white rice. Despite it is Sunday, everything is open, and here are plenty of locals. Then I follow the huge, white pipeline, coming from the lake. It leads me near the 45 meter tall Pulhapanzak waterfall. I feared Sunday might be a bad idea, but here is almost none. It is a nice area, and here are some huge trees with epiphytes. Despite the light is not right, the fall is a real great sight. I grab a cup of coffee, waiting for the sun, but fails. I find some Begonias, Selaginellas, mushrooms, Urticaceaes and Bromeliads.
In an attempt to reach the lake, I find the archaeological site, and give it a shot. They have a little museum with a few, but exclusive object. It never fails to puzzle me: The shape is so alike the ancient Danish pottery and flint tools. They are found way out in the forest, and it is a great walk in the old forest with massive Amate trees; Ficus insipida, orchids and all other form of epiphytes like Peperomias. I find several epiphytic cacti like Rhipsalis.
Here are a lot of birds - or at least their voices. One of the most noisy is the Montezuma Oropendola; Psarocolius montezuma. I kind of get a photo. A new viewing tower does not reveal much, but numerous Bromeliads.
The Los Naranjos or whatever, is just small pointy hills in the else so flat landscape. They date back to 800 BC, and are considered Honduras' second most important ancient sight. I walk back another way, but fails to find a trail for the nearby lake. It might be swamp anyway. Back at the entrance, I find the Lago de Yojoa lake at 650 meters height, and it a truly awesome sight. Here are numerous waterbirds like geese, ducks, waterhens and herons. Some old wooden dinghies are partly sunken, but add great to the motives along with the distant mountains.
It start to drizzle a bit, and I head back to Pena Blanca to find dinner. In one little joint, I get two great tasting enchiladas with cabbage, cheese, carrots, eggs and bean-paste. In the other end of town, I get a single baleadas - which they cal tortillas here. Back at my hotel, I am upgraded to a double room - thanks! They even serve tea here, and I sit at the bar and work. Well, the single cup of tea was significantly more expensive than my two lunches.
Somehow, I don't really have that many photos, despite I think I have had a great day, with so many awesome sights. Guess the few glimpses of sun reduced my eager trigger finger. The yard where the hummingbirds swarmed is now home to some bats and a cosy fireplace. I chat a bit with two Swedes, and pat a cat. I have a hard time removing the cat, when I head home to bed. I find a huge Tailless Whip Scorpion under my pillow. I know it is harmless, and I just push it off the bed, and get a great night's sleep. Pena Blanca, Pulhapanzak WF, Lago de Yojoa.
9/12. I would like to see the morning sun over the Lago de Yojoa, as I did yesterday, passing bye. Now, I have to wait for the sun. While waiting, I try to figure how to get to Esteli in Nicaragua without the ten hour de-tour pass Managua. I might just have to take a chance, and jump off the bus along route? Apparently, I get a whole day in Tegucigalpa, and the terminal is way out of town!
It is a lovely sunny morning, and I find the canal, made for pleasure. Here are huge bromeliads and even orchids in the big trees along the water, and some astonishing views along the canal. Then I drive through Pena Blanca and find a little road, following the huge Lago de Yojoa. It is just as amassing as yesterday, even when I get to the big road.
Out in the marsh, a few large trees is found, and they are covered in Spanish Moss. The mountains surounding the lake is partly covered in mist, while the lake is in full sun. I find some interesting plants and an Agama with purple belly. One of the trees is a Urticaceae, and it have large clusters of orange berries - and stinging nettles.
I find a little gravel road, when the big road leaves the lake. Here, it get even better. Remote humble farms, fields with cattle, great lake views, vultures, helmet agama, loads of Morning Glory, epiphytic cacti, crystal clear water and a few real furry pigs. Eventually, I run out of lakeside, and head into the low mountains. Here are more cattle and quite some pines.
A long gravel road leads through a little settlement and end up at El Cacaó Cascada; a 25 meter waterfall. I head further north through the low mountains. The eastern side tend to be dense and lush forest, while the western is more dry.
I reach the little town of Santa Barbara at noon, and start looking for dinner. It is rather difficult to find anything but polo, but at the market, an single stand have baleadas. I see the central square, which have a pond with a lot of big pond turtles. The market is in a huge building, and many shops are found all over the town. Some houses are made up by sun-burned clay, and the years have been hard on them.
Further up the road, I cross the little Rio Hondo, and see the old bridge. It meets the large Rio Ulúa and that offers some new motives. I find a single amassing Mimosa, flowering as it is the last day on Earth. It is getting late, and I head for San Pedro Sula and my pre-booked hotel. I follow the large river most of the way. I find a few new species of epiphytic cacti along the road, along with some Agaves.
The traffic intensifies, but everyone drive so polite. I find the hotel right away - as I had a photo. It is close to the airport, where I have to return the car, and the bus terminal, where I'm going to leave. But here are no restaurants. I get a few items at the big supermarket, and head home to work. Lago de Yojoa and Santa Barbara, Special: Lago de Yojoa and Santa Barbara.
10/12. I have to return the car in the early morning, but only AFTER the Nicaragua bus leave. That give me a bit of a wasted day in San Pedro Sula. I use my Guatemala bus-ticket to get to the local bus-terminal, and sort-out the route to Nicaragua. It is significantly more southern than I had anticipated, when I booked a car. Day two is going to be a long drive, way too south. But I have the time.
I find a minibus for the centre of this huge city. It is way more cosy than I had expected. I jump off at a huge market, and start wandering around the rest of the day. Like in so many other cities and larger towns, most ordinarily shops have a uniformed guide with a sidearm and a shotgun - some have two men. I head for the central square to find a café, but they are unfamiliar with chairs outside.
Here are mainly shops with clothing, cell-phone items, shoos and a real few restaurants. A huge area houses numerous shoe factories. One or two employee make their model, and the air is thick with the ooze of glue, which they apply with a bare finger. I find no souvenirs at all - and see no pale either. I find a little local place, serving me three luxurious enchiladas with all they have, but meat. Here are not much fireworks, compared with the roadsides, but their firecracker have to be recon with! Around one kilo, I guess.
I pass the central square for a Chai, and sit at the square drinking it, while the locals look at me. Far the most with a huge smile on their faces. I finish up at the market, where the light is far better now. I am not that keen on big cities, but this one have preserved its charm in the centre - and it is huge! I stock two baleadas for later, and walk home. Guess it is faster than taking a minibus in the congested streets. A bit of laundry, usual work and setting the alarm for 3;30 in the night. I spend some time figuring how to get from Leon to Esteli, and where to sleep, should I spend a night. I just hope they leave me the key for the gate. Else, I won't have a chance getting out!. San Pedro Sula.
11/12. Somehow, the light turns on, ten minutes before my alarm - can't explain why? Half an hours walk to the terminal, as here are no busses at this time of night: 4;00-4;30. I get a front seat, but too high to actually watch out the front shield. The bus is so cold, even my jacket is insufficient. It is all by familiar southern roads, nice though, and close to nine, I'm in Tegucigalpa. Despite I was told to wait a day, I get the driver and co-driver talked into letting me sit at the bus for the next stint into Nicaragua. I grab a bun, and we are off. I don't feel I will be missing anything in this huge town, in a day with drizzle.
Yet more amassing landscape, where there are a bit more dry, some cacti and high mountains - for Honduras. I try to capture the humble huts, made of sun-dried clay blocks, huge cacti on the yellow fields and green valleys around a river. And in general; I fail, due to the speed, the tinted windows and the dust outside. I can't say I am missing backpacking! So much wasted time, so little control.
The first part of the border passing is quite smooth, and the co-driver take care of all, for the ten passengers. Then, around two, we crosses the border river: Rio Guasaule, and the adventure continues in Nicaragua. In bus to Nicaragua.
Honduras have been such a pleasant experience, with a lot of nice nature, so smiling people and good roads. Especially Copán and Lago de Yojoa is in a class of their own. I have taken 1800 photos HIGHLIGHTS FROM HONDURAS, driven 2048 kilometres by myself, and enjoyed them all. I will be back in transit after Nicaragua.
It have been a fairly cheep nine days (as part of a
27/12. The transit turned out to be way more swift, than I had expected. I just present passport, and keep my seat in the bus. Then I'm in El Salvador.