June 16th, 2012
It has been a month since I arrived back in England, three flights after boarding a plane in Panama City. Loose fitting sports clothing and all of my belongings squeezed into a Chinese shopping bag, wondrously cold weather and my family awaited me. The next week passed in a haze of memories and comforts that I had long forgotten. A month later, I have found work and am ready to throw myself into the next chapter of the adventure, albeit a less sweaty and physically extreme adventure.
With the blog being as out of date as the calm times by Atitlan in Guatemala, the weeks and experiences that followed seem a distant memory of the social isolation, and at times, extreme discomfort of life on the bike.
Of all of the countries in my trip, Honduras was probably the hardest, both mentally and physically. The hills weren’t bigger than any of the ones I had encountered before, though the heat and constant steep undulation led to extremes of mood that I hadn’t had since starting in Canada. Interactions with the locals were also cooler than what I had grown used to in Latin America, poverty was much more visible here and the people didn’t seem to have the patience for a random foreigner.
Despite the difficulties, Honduras provided the least touristy Central American experience for me, drinking endless cups of world class coffee and being surrounded by breathtaking mountain scenery. The next few posts will be catch up picture posts to bring the journey to its conclusion.
After a peaceful and scenic climb from Panajachel, I was given a parting view of the lake before heading into the mountains.
Quiet, pine forested, mountain roads always make for beautiful cycling.
Taking my shoes off, I walked my bike through the forded river due to the collapse of the paved road.
Compulsory photo of a chicken bus in Guatemala. These are usually old American school buses which, probably hoping for a quiet retirement after years of ferrying rowdy children, escape the pot only to be thrown into a retirement of fire, hurtling around central america at breakneck speeds. Rarely actually stopping for such an unworthy reason as picking up or depositing passengers, a decrease in speed followed by passengers and luggage flying off onto the road is the usual routine.
After a couple of weeks in the western highlands, first at Carl’s and then a lazy stay in San Pedro on the lake, breaks taken in Antigua and Chiquimula were the only pauses on the route to Copan, across the mountainous border into Honduras. Here I am the first person to enter the Mayan ruins that make the town famous, having the site to myself for a few hours in the relative coolness of the morning.
…before the uniformed and herded masses arrived.
The mayans knew how to relax, in between sacrificing children to encourage rain and building temples.
Heading deeper into Honduras, quiet roads and fantastic scenery awaited.
Not to mention fantastic coffee.
From La Esperanza to Marcala there was a beautiful track through protected forests, mostly downhill and ending at the coffee capital of Honduras. Needless to say it was a good day, and I stayed for a few days of indulging in food, coffee and relaxation.