Well we left you in El Salvador, we have been and done Honduras and are now in Nicaragua, which leads me to believe that we're a bit slack on the old blogging front. The trouble is, we're too busy doing stuff to write about it! Hopefully a new blog and piccies will rectify the situation.
We ended up staying 4 more days in El Salvador than planned because poor James was struck down with a tummy bug. Glued to the loo and a high fever meant a very unhappy chap and a lonely me! I spent my time makes friends and drinking with some fellow travelers. We left El Salvador and made our way to the town of Copan in Northern Honduras. Honduras has the highest murder rate in the world fact fans! Copan is a pretty hillside town and is famous for the ruins of a Mayan city just outside the town. We were prepared to be slightly bored by the ruins (seen one ancient ruined city seen 'em all), but we were blown away. This city was the cultural capital of the Maya and there are the most amazing hieroglyphs and stone carvings, plus the huge temples and alters we have seen before. The jewel of the Copan ruins is the hieroglyphic stairway, which is a huge set of steps covered in hieroglyphs, which tell the story of the city and the kings in succession. Our favourite king is King Smoke Monkey! The carvings and sculptures (Stelae) are magnificent and I had a bit of a "moment", just feeling quite privileged to see it. There's also a huge ball court for the game they used to play, which without knowing the rules James assumes he'd be brilliant at. We also saw some new wildlife - wild macaw parrots flying above and squawking from the trees and an agouti, which is a long-legged guinea pig thing. I'll let the pictures do the talking for Copan ruins as it's hard to say in words how amazing it is.
The next day we went on a day long adventure up into the mountains on the Honduran/Guatemalan border. Carlos was our guide and son of family of wealthy coffee growers. Went spent the morning riding around (a small part) of the enormous area of land they own and have partially converted to coffee plantation. There's no health and safety issues here so off we went on our beautiful horses with nothing more than cowboy hats on and within minutes we galloping across a field. I haven't ridden in a long time, but it all came back and I was soon squealing with delight and racing James! We returned (a little saddle sore) after 4 hours and had the most fantastic lunch prepared by Carlos' mum. Almost everything is made or grown on their land, right down to the beautiful, soft fresh cheese made from their cow's milk. In the afternoon we toured the coffee production facility and sampled a cup. To finish off the day we went to a series of volcanic hot springs and relaxed in the warm waters… ahh heaven! We loved Copan, there is so much to do in that area AND a crazy 4th generation German brewer has set up a brewery there, producing the most perfect beer! After 2 months of generic bottled lager James was a happy man.
From Copan we moved onto The Bay Islands off the coast of Honduras and the island of Roatan. We spent 5 days on Roatan and I only have 1 photo to show for it because we spent most of the time underwater! We did many dives as the conditions here are pretty much ideal. The water is clear and the island basically sits on top of a huge reef. My joy was complete when on our third dive we spotted a big turtle. He checked us out, decided he wasn't bothered and proceeded to sit on the reef right below us. On the same dive we saw a nurse shark asleep in a little cave.
Dived out we left Roatan and the spent next 3 days trying to get to Nicaragua. I won't bore you with the transport delays, needless to say many buses, taxis, boats etc. were involved and we had to spend not 1 but 2 nights in the world's most dangerous city. This was illustrated when we asked the guy on reception at the hotel if there was a restaurant nearby, he insisted on escorting us the one block to it! Anyway we made it to Nicaragua safely (country number 5) and we are now ensconced in a lovely little hostel in Leon. Leon is the revolutionary and intellectual heart of Nicaragua and a wonderful place. There's a sort of faded colonial charm, interspersed with murals about the revolution, that makes Leon an attractive and unusual town. Leon also has the biggest Cathedral in Central America and the story goes that in 1700's when the plans were submitted to Spain for approval they were accidently switched with those for Lima, Peru! The other main draw in Leon is volcano boarding.. Like everywhere else in C.A there are about 10 volcanoes in the area and some bright spark had the idea that sledding down them on a flimsy piece of plywood would be fun. Plus there is the added thrill that the volcano might erupt! I gave it a miss but James duly hiked up the side of the volcano with a board strapped to his back and sledded down. Unfortunately due to his (massive) body weight, the sled would barely move, and while the lighter people whizzed past at 40 miles an hour James slowly slid down. He got some got photos though so check 'em out!
Well that's it from us.. We're in Leon for a few more hours before we move on the Matagalpa in the mountains of Nicaragua, for more coffee and some of the world's best rum and cigars!
Hannah and James xx