From the northern part of the country and Diary 1
- I head even higher up to Copán.
It is back by familiar roads through the forests of the 900 to 1300 metres heights. The first part is in a pea-soup, but when I assent above 1000 metres, I reach the sun. Below, the valley is covered in clouds. I stop a few times to capture the green mountains, then I reach Rastrojón. It is the remains of an ancient Maya complex, hidden behind a large hotel. It is found on a hillside, offering a great view to the green mountains. The ruins are not that impressive, but a bas relief which have been partly restored is.
I try to get into El Bosque and Sepulturas, but apparently it take a ticket for Copán Ruins. It is just down the road, and it is a huge tourist destination. Well, not to day, but I do see five pale faced people - the first in Honduras. The area right inside the huge area is a feeding area for the birds. Mainly the Scarlet Macaw; Ara macao and a black starling are numerous. I spot a single agouti and a squirrel too.
Once, this Mayan city was huge! The first the visitors meet is a huge green field, surrounded by tall steps and with a pyramid and some tall monoliths scattered around, along with a few massive trees. It does look awesome this sunny day. Into the forest, a domestically area is found, and on the other side, the mountain-like pyramids. I walk the area, enjoy the ancient buildings (AD 250–900), but also the nature.
The largest pyramid is actually a shell, covering another smaller pyramid. The Rosalila Tunnel leads into the narrow area in-between them. Here, the inner pyramid is covered in carvings. Outside, many areas is covered in carvings as well, and some figures are scatted around the vast area. The backside of the second tales pyramid is a almost vertical and real tall wall.
When I have seen most, I head further down the road to the town of Copán Ruins. It is a cosy little town, surprisingly unharmed by tourism. It is a bit passed noon, and I'm peckish. I can find a few tourist places, selling sandwiches for $7, but also local places with great tortillas with bean paste, other stuffing and root fruit pickles for $1,50. I start in one little joint with one containing only bean-paste and cheese, then another place with the luxurious one with and eggs and avocados along with a fresh juice.
I do most of the town, even the central church. It is really simple inside! Here is a street with souvenirs and several small and larger shops alike. However, I fail to see a single tourist. Most of the men I see have wellingtons and cowboy hats on, and a machete on the side. They ride either a horse or a Toyota pickup.
On the way back I try El Bosque & Sepulturas once more, and this time, I get in. The walk to the ruins should be great, but I fail to see that. Just some forest, and without any epiphytes. After Copán, the ruins are a bit disappointing, and a two, I figure I can reach La Esperanza before dark.
Back over the 1300 meter highland and on the other side of a valley, the 1000 meter plateau. I pass Gracias, and from here, it is unfamiliar road. The first part is the usual beautiful green mountains, the the road gain altitude, and the broad-leafed trees give room for pines. I pass a few small villages, but here are not mush buildings to be found in the wild. The road passes 1935 metres height, and the my target is at 1835 metres height.
I reach La Esperanza just before dark, and treat myself with a twice as expensive hotel, who promises hot water. But I just get one more geyser: An electrified showerhead, worth nothing. I do a short loop in town, just to find supper. It is either polo or tortilla. I try the two "restaurants" I can find. The streets are still active, and it seems like it is one huge market.
I did remember my fleece jacket from the car, but I could do with some more. End up with the blanket from the bed around my shoulders. Way too many photos of alike green mountains and piles of rocks. Rastrojón, Copán, El Bosque & Sepulturas, green mountains and even more Copán Ruins.
7/12. I actually manages to get a not-that-cold shower. A fine balance between open-enough-to-heat and not-too-open-so-it-can't-heat-enough. I hit the streets along with the first beams of sun and locals. Here are no cars, but mine, but that soon changes. The Lenca Market is slowly getting alive, and after a tour around the closed shops, I find the "food court". The locals get different morning meals and I get a mug of coffee along with the locals. A sock in a big bucket is the "coffee-machine" and the product is great!
The shops are opening, and here are everything you can ask for, from Christmas decorations over clothing to farmers equipment. People are so smiling and friendly, and I do several loops, before I head out in the town. The sun is up, but it does not get down through the narrow streets. I find the whole-sale area, where whole shops are with only one crop. Then, in a big store, I find a shoo-factory! I find the central square, with its Christmas decorations and a tree, totally overgrown with epiphytes. It is a great town to wander around in, but I have a new sight lined up.
Almost 200 kilometres east is the huge city of Tegucigalpa, and it have a Friday and Saturday market. As it is Saturday, I head that way. The first bit is still in the mountains above 1500 metres, where the sun embraces the pine-covered green mountains. There is hardly any traffic, but the road soon turn quite bad; a line of potholes.
Then around 1500 metres height, the clouds engulf the road and me. Here start to be a few villages, and the fog lift its grip at 1000 metres. Here are some bananas and other crops around humble farmhouses. Then around 750 metres, the landscape dries significantly out. I start looking for cacti, and actually manages to find a few species in the savannah-like area. I reach the highway-like road, and enjoy it for the last 80 kilometres.
Despite is is semi-desert-like, here are huge fields with artificially watered crops. Then I reach the other side of the giant valley, and the pines are back on the rocks. I reach the outskirts of Tegucigalpa and the hillsides almost look like the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro. Accordantly to my guidebook, Tegucigalpa if famous for two things; its weekend farmers market and high crime rate.
I drive straight through town, with it unfamiliar skyscrapers, and park right next to the market. People are so smiling and friendly, but it is hard to get any photos in the shadow. A few more than usually ask for selfies, and people are a bit less shy. It is lunch time, and I find a real busy stand with corn-pancakes, filled with cheese, vegetables and herbs. Not only get I to jump the line, the girl next to me pay some of my delicious meal.
Besides from the usual vegetables and fruit, here are some fishmongers and butchers. I see the market, but won't challenge my luck in the rest of the city. I head back the last 80 kilometres of the great highway. Then I reach the old colonial capital; Comayagua. It is at 585 metres height, and nicely warmer.
I had expected more colonial buildings, but the town
does have its charm. I find my big hotel in the centre of town, and
negotiate the price to half.
Out in the town, I do so many loops.
Start with a fresh juice on the central square. It is hard
to get any photos of the buildings, as there are parked cars everywhere, and
the traffic is so congested.
The pedestrian street is covered in Christmas decorations, and later, I meet a parade. Dinosaurs, pretty girls, balloons, cowboys - you name it. Then I find the market and the area with tiny shops. The area is real busy, but everyone are so smiling. I find some muesli at a big supermarket. Here are so many motives out on the streets, although they start to look a bit alike.
I have been bothered with reflections on the dashboard, and find a shop with fabric. It turns out the owner spend a year in Denmark in '85-'86. He remember it as cold...
is yet again tacos, but this time the luxurious type: Twice as expensive,
half the size. It is getting dark, and despite it seems like the town will
be quite lively this evening, I head back to work with the way too many
photos and experiences. This causes for three special slideshows:
Comayagua. The best are in the
Day 6 slideshow.