A restless sleep brought about by my festering legs, came to an abrupt end with my alarm going off. Despite the monumental midge attack of the previous day, I returned to my favourite place in Copan Ruinas to chill over a tasty breakfast. This time, heavily marinated in bug spray.
Back on the road, I walked to the bus terminal in the drizzling rain. Thankfully, I had found a route through town the previous day which was fairly flat and a final descent that was a little less steep than most. Cobblestone roads, though appealing on the eye, quickly lose their appeal in the wet. Safely down on the flat again without upending, I jumped in a minibus heading to my next destination.
At La Entrada, I changed buses for one to Gracias. Or so I was told. It turned out that that particular bus only went as far as Santa Rosa de Copan, about half the distance. But I had paid an amount commensurate with the whole journey. I kicked up but was assured by the bus staff that it was ok, that I had paid for the whole way. My pack was handed to the offsider of the new bus I had to catch but I saw no money being exchanged.
On board my new bus, I asked the señora in front of me what the price to Santa Rosa de Copan should have been and she confirmed what I thought. I explained what had happened, but also added that I wasn’t sure whether the driver of the other bus had passed on the fare for this leg of the trip. I soon found out. The ticket collector passed me by as he went through the bus collecting fares. I normally check price of fares with another passenger, but hadn’t on this occasion.
The weather hadn’t improved and actually worsened when we got to Gracias. My plans of stopping off here and exploring this colonial town were reconsidered and I ended up continuing my journey onwards to La Esperanza. The bus didn’t actually go through town so I didn’t get to see anything but the outskirts of Gracias. The countryside on the way through to La Esperanza was magnificent though. La Esperanza is the highest town in Honduras and some of the best coffee in the world comes from this region. Pine trees clung to the sides of the hills we traversed through.
It certainly started to get chilly as we climbed in altitude and I was glad I had pulled a jacket out of my pack. The journey to La Esperanza took forever as every time someone got on or off the minibus, the driver had to get out and open the side door. Eventually, we turned onto a dirt road and made our way down into the valley in which La Esperanza nestles. By this stage it was dark and the lights of the town lit the hollow like a spangly bolt of cloth.
At the bus terminal, I caught a taxi to a hotel I picked out of the guide book. Unfortunately, the name in the book was incorrect, but my driver managed to work out where I wanted to go. My pack dumped, I changed into warmer clothes and headed out for something to eat. A little restaurant just down the road was still open and served wonderful local Lenca cuisine. By the time I returned to my hotel, the mist had settled in and swirled around the now deserted streets. I grabbed another blanket for my bed and settled in for a chilly night.