We luckily had a private minibus from Antigua to Copan - it is far more comfortable and stops when we want it to. An added plus was Rob supplied his shoulder as a pillow and I slept almost all the way to the border. The border crossing was really straightforward. The surprising thing was how the climate had changed in such a short period. It was really humid and very hot and sticky. We were coming into the rainy season.
Copan is a really small town and is about 1km from the famous Copan ruins. It is centred around a square and then spans out up incredibly steep slopes. Unfortunately we were at the top of one of them. It made getting to and from town a hard task. This was doubly hard in the torrential rain when the roads became rivers. At one point I was literally ankle deep in fast flowing water trying to get down into town without going head over heels.
The ruins were lovely and are renowned for its sculptures and hieroglyphics. The main attraction is the Hieroglyphic Stairway (created under the orders of King Smoke Shell). It is a stunning stairway which is covered in intricate carvings which tell the history of the kings. The kings have truly cool names like King Moon Jaguar; King 18 Rabbit; King Smoke Monkey; King Smelly Bottom (only joking about the last one - just checking you are reading this). Leave a comment if you picked up on this! The sculptures which stay in my mind is the 2 headed stone turtle and the 'Burger'. The latter looked like a burger with a dint in the top. This was for you to place your head in and then they would chop it off and the blood would run down the channels they had carved into the burger. The reason why they chopped your head off - because you were the selected player from the winning team of their ancient ball game and had been bestowed a great honour by having your head detached. Not sure this would work well in football!
Copan is also in the middle of a coffee region, so we went on a coffee tour. It was great. It started with a really nice breakfast on a balcony overlooking the rain forest. The coffee was truly divine (provided by the Welchez Gourmet Coffee Company). Then a 4x4 took us deep into the forest to the start of the trail. It was a really a lovely nature trail through the plantation. We found a coffee berry and was able to peel it down to a coffee bean. More layers than an onion (well almost)!. He explained the process for making instant and decaffeinated coffee which went a long way to explaining why both of them taste awful. After years of being a wine snob, I could feel myself evolving into a coffee snob!
To finish off my stay in Copan I had to walk down a the steep hill with 22kg on my back at 5am in the morning. This was the most terrifying thing I have ever done. I had images of going head first and then rolling all the way down the steep incline. I am pleased to report, being the mountain goat that I am, that it went without incident - how could I ever have doubted myself!! As for bag, not sure why it so heavy. I have emptied it several times looking for bricks but none have yet materialised!