I´ve spent a couple of days in the small colonial towns of Western Honduras , Santa Rosa and Gracias. They have been pleasant and interesting enough but I would say without anything really memorable or exciting to write about. I have found out pretty fast that buses in Honduras seem to be really slow , aswell as somewhat lacking the fun & manic character of the Guatemalan chicken bus. It took four hours to get to Santa Rosa on Sunday afternoon and when I arrived I didnt come across any other travellers & seemed to be the only loco gringo tourist in town , which is actually quite a nice experience sometimes. I grabbed a room at a rather grotty hospedaje (a classic "oh it´s only for one night" job) and took a wander around the little town.
As it was Sunday night it was very quiet and most things seemed closed - most of the town activity was around the Sunday evening church service, which was oversubscribed as is often the case and people were spilling out of the door trying to listen in. Santa Rosa has a pleasant Parque Central with a few statues and the ubiquitous main church overlooking the plaza. As darkness fell I managed to find a decent sports bar near the hostel where good pasta , beer and Honduran football on the TV screens kept me entertained for a couple of hours before a much needed early night. Santa Rosa has a quite picturesque setting when you walk away from the main streets and Parque Central and get more to the outskirts to see the local countryside - but nothing truly compelling to warrant a lot of time here though so Monday morning I moved on to Gracias.
Relatively short bus ride to Gracias - less than two hours - but not helped by a drunk guy (at 10 am) on the bus , semi-conscious , "sitting" next to me or rather falling onto me every time we went around a bend - when we actually arrived at Gracias everyone got off and he just stayed there zonked out while the driver tried with some difficulty to get him off his bus. Gracias is a small colonial town with cobbled streets and some character , but somewhat potholed & dusty and not the clean charm of somewhere like Antigua Guatemala. It´s most interesting features were the Parque Central , a couple of colonial churches (the third one is a very ugly design in my opinion) , a little fort up on the hill and it´s setting with the surrounding Mount Celaque national park (Mount Celaque is the highest peak in Honduras).
Possibly the best spot in Gracias is a little bar at Guanascos hotel which is high up , just below where you climb up to the little fort on the hill , and a great place for an afternoon cup of tea with views over the town and surrounding countryside - so nice I went back for dinner at the same spot. As with Santa Rosa , Gracias was cool for half a day or so but not really so compelling to warrant more precious travel time so it was another early morning bus on the following day to San Pedro Sula
(Honduras second largest city) as I make my way North towards the Bay Islands.