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The countries are passing pretty quickly now. A bit too fast to get the hang of the money and exchange rates! Unlike other parts of the world, we do at least not have to change languages as we move along. There are some interesting variations though. Whereas previously people’d call out “¡Buenos Dias!” (good morning), now they say “¡Adios!”, which normally means goodbye, as a greeting. It turns out that it means both – very economical :-)

From La Esperanza we took the old road to Marcala, which was actually mostly downhill after climbing out of the mountain bowl. In keeping with what seems to be a developing trend, we passed the best camp-spots of the day in the morning. Lots of pine-clad ridge-tops with little streams and good drainage…

The fleeting beauty of an orchid given to us on our way out of La Esperanza. It didn't survive the rainstorm that night

We found a sunny spot by the road to dry our tent out just short of La Paz, then watched with respect as this man quickly lashed this enormous bundle of firewood to his bike. The constant daily task of finding wood for cooking seems to consume a lot of time, and contributes to increasing deforestation

Then without a single wobble he cruised off towards hom

After Marcala our back-road route faltered and we took to paved roads for the rest of the country; and thus went from 30-40km days to almost double that. So the second half of the country took 4 days! It feels as if there’s not much to say about it really. The countryside was nice enough, but for us the adventure wasn’t really there. Part of the reason for this was to go via Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras. This was the largest city we’d been to in the whole trip, and it was all about shopping. There are the whole compliment of retail outlets (KFC, Burger King, Mackers, Pizza Hut etc) and some shopping malls where apart from the odd spanish shop name you can walk round and not know which country you’re in. All very depressing really. Tegucigalpa does have a bike shop that sells the parts we’ve been getting stressed about, namely disc-brake pads. We’ve been going through these a bit faster than expected as there’s not much of our route that isn’t either steeply up or steeply down.

I apologise for this one, but couldn't not take it. In Honduras, a country not known to me for this musical instrument, there is an Eco-park called "The Bagpiper", sponsored like pretty much everything else in central america, by Coca-cola!

The main highway from Tegucigalpa to Estelí turned out to be pretty and (relatively) easy riding, with not too much traffic. We managed yet another border crossing without any hassle to get into our 6th country, though like our crossing into Guatemala they’d helpfully put the crossing at the top of a hill!

The blessed descent from the Los Manos border crossing into Nicaragua was through beautiful, lush forest, with this mural painted on one of the safety barriers

Now we’re planning a round-about route to Granada and the ferry to Isla Ometepe, via Jinotega and Matagalpa.

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