In Honduras we decide to do something different from what any travel guide would present us. No National Parks, no snorkeling at the coast, no cheap dive courses at Utila island and neither an expensive holiday week on the Bay Islands between ex pats that didn’t have a shower the last month as they are convinced that this is the way to integrate. Instead we go to Gracias, the old capital of Honduras with its 33000 habitants, situated in the hart of the Lempira district . First with the bus to Santa Rosa and from there to Gracias (100 Lempiras/person). Together with Ed and Sophia (we met crossing the border Guate-Honduras) we talk and share experiences so the bus trip seems shorter. In Gracias we ask the way and walking we go to our hostel. A dirt track brings us step by step close to the city center. At both sides, what seems like in shops converted garage boxes, are selling the most bizarre random artifacts but most of all key hangers!?! All are selling the same and sometimes we wander about who would buy all the stuff. Most of them are grocery shops all selling tomatoes, onions, bananas and potatoes (so not a big choice in the veggie area), milk in plastic bags and all kinds of sweets packed per unit. You can even buy marshmallows by unit. If I didn’t know better I would even say that there is a possibility to find a shop where you could buy the marsh and the mallow for separated. We all are quite impressive, none of us ever thought an ex capital could be that basic. Dust roads in the middle of the center, shops by size and content not fitting the word capital city and buildings not showing the economic and political power there once was. We found our hostel (Hotel Eric, 100L/p) and leave the bags. We make a short walk passing the church of Merced, to the center square which has two statues, some trees, a few benches to rest and in the center a kiosk to drink a coffee at prices as we were in Paris again.
A cathedral that borders the square is closed, so no entry there, but looks well maintained to Central American standards. We all have a milkshake and decide to visit a natural protected area and some hot springs, discussing the price with a tuc-tuc driver we find out that it is pretty late to go up the mountains but there is definitely time for the Balneario Aguas Termales (hot springs), entrance fee 50L/p. The late afternoon rain is irrelevant there and might even upgrade the joy level of the experience. The springs, well prepared, offer different pools at different heat (between 35ºC and 42ºC) to relax and to forget the time while sitting in a vapor cloud, freshly formed heavy raindrops burst on our shoulders.
At 18:00 the tuc-tuc is waiting for us to bring us back to the village. The four of us have a amusing dinner with local dishes in a nice restaurant and we close the bar after having good laughs. Tomorrow our ways will separate but we feel like it’s not the last time we will see Ed and Sophia during our travel.