What’s in a name?
Well when said name is Gracias, at times a little confusion and apparently a lot of history.
The little town of Gracias, written up in our guidebook as the one time capital of Spanish Central America (until the high and mighty folks in Guatemala got jealous and threw some sort of a tantrum) was apparently not just steeped in history, but also one of the more picturesque colonial towns in Honduras.
With such a wrap, we added it to our whistle-stop tour of this corner of the country, before we’d travel on to El Salvador, planning to see its sights before our Cuban adventures (we would be returning to Honduras after Cuba).
When a couple of days earlier our driver had asked the simple question “Are you just visiting Copan Ruinas or travelling on?” we had responded accordingly, “Si, Gracias” or as it would be in English, “Yes, Gracias (the town).”
However many of you, even with a limited understanding of Spanish, may understand how he would have understood it to be “Yes, thanks (gracias being the Spanish word for thanks).”
An amusing dialogue in hindsight, but a little confusing at the time (I’m sure he’d just assumed we didn’t understand his Spanish)!
A couple of bus connections got us to this small highland town where the sun was blazing and our hunger was growing (long bus trips obviously help us work on our appetites).
On the town’s small plaza, which was home to a large colony of stray, or if not stray at least hungry dogs, sat the town’s main church, although oddly enough, it was constructed with the door facing away from the plaza itself!
Dining options aren’t really prevalent in these Central American nations, so we settled on some fried chicken from a local eatery named Pollo Express, where the chicken was juicy and tasty, however the name express was certainly a misnomer.
This was obviously an easy way to endear ourselves to the local dog population as well!
Now the town itself, it was cute, but realistically, there wasn’t a lot going on.
And the author who called it a stunning colonial town? Well it may be one of the better examples by Honduran standards, however it really feels as though they’ve never set foot in either Guatemala or El Salvador where any number of towns would trump it (although it would be later we’d learn this fact about El Salvador).
Now above Gracias sat an old Spanish fort which we’d hoped would give us some great views of the town and surrounding mountains, which it could have potentially done… had any of the trees that enveloped it been trimmed back in the last two or three years.
It was pretty small, but was home to a just as small sculpture garden which at least gave us something else to distract ourselves with for a few additional minutes.
The preparations for an evening celebration of some sorts appeared to be in their closing stages, so we thought it best that we take our leave and made the short downhill walk back into town, ready to find ourselves an ice cold beer.
Luckily for this expedition, I’d earlier spied (on our walk from the bus station into town) a possible candidate/option for this afternoon beverage.
As luck would have it, this cantina was open, and was also a pretty cool place to sample our first Honduran beers.
There was a great look and feel to this little establish, decked out in old rusted tools, weapons, machinery and with walls adorned with old advertising and images of Hollywood icons.
Sadly however, we can recall the name of the beer (Salva Vida which wasn’t a terrible drop), but not the venue.
A late lunch meant we were content with instant noodles for dinner and a few additional beers (this time back in our room), preceded by a last evening stroll (where we discovered another great church facade).
Had we put huge expectations on this place we’d have been sorely disappointed, however given time was not pressing, for us it was a nice little side trip, but certainly not one that will leave us with lifelong memories.
* A micro-bus from Copan Ruinas to Santa Rosa cost us $100.00 Lempira per person. The bus ran from the edge of town, not far from the Copan Ruinas (ruins) site.
* Our onward journey from Santa Rosa to Gracias only cost an additional $50.00 Lempira each. There is a bus terminal of sorts, however we were fortunate enough to be transferred from one bus to the other as it went past us on the edge of town.