Overly ambitious plans to catch a 6.20am ferry to the mainland from Utila were thwarted by a crippling hangover, evidence of a leaving party lasting well into the early hours of the morning. Eventually up and partially functioning by midday, we blearily packed our gear, grabbed some food – yuck, no food, feel sick, just Gatorade please – said final goodbyes and headed off to the mainland. A rolling ferry journey did approximately nothing to aid recovery and so after a rather limp 100 miles we stopped at a convenient hotel for the night – well done guys…felt great to be riding again tho! Assuaging our guilty consciences with a 7.30am start, we headed directly for the Honduras-Nicaragua border, aiming to get as far into Nicaragua as possible. It feels fantastic to be riding again after being cooped up on a tiny island – being part of the journey, feeling the wind whistling past, dodging (or not) potholes, making overtakes and getting bathed in diesel – Honduras is a mass of smells – the warm roasting smell of coffee, the British-American waft of tobacco, the sickly-sweet scent of sugar cane…even the damp-earth smell as we rode through scattered showers. What wasn’t great was the horrific aftermath of a fatal bus and car accident – not a particularly pleasant sight as we rounded a corner – really brings home the fact that the roads aren’t the safest in the world and that nipping past lorries on corners does have some inherent risks…seem to have been alright for the last few thousand miles tho…! After lunch at a traditional Honduran restaurant (I had a Philly Steak sandwich) and a very interesting chat with a local about the bikes and the trip – dreading another halting spanish conversation, we apprehensively turned to chat to him and discovered he spoke perfect english – we made the border in another 100 miles of smooth Honduran roads, winding gently through red-soiled hills. After probably the easiest (and cheapest) border crossing yet – including avoiding getting fleeced by the damn cambio guys – sweet – we found ourselves, somewhat bewilderedly, in Nicaragua…seemed far too easy, but gift horses and mouths and all that… Luck seemed to take a turn for the damper after the next few miles, resulting in a hell-for leather race for Managua before we got saturated. Sadly, we lost, and crawled into a very nice hotel absolutely, completely and comprehensively saturated – boots squelchingly full of water, jackets and pants (not the american kind) soaking and water dribbling uncomfortably down necks. Ah, the joys of bike travel. Superb bargaining skills by Matt dropped the cost of the room by 30%, we laid the gear out round the room to dry (it smelt really bad) and crashed out ready for another early start the next day – not before Will had used up all the hot water though (git). Once out of Managua, we started on the run south through Nicaragua to the Costa Rica border – sad that we haven’t got more time to spend in the country really – seems a real shame to belt through it at such a ridiculous rate of knots. I guess that’s the price you pay for lying on beaches for days on end 🙂 An overcast sky and worries about another soaking detracted somewhat from what should have been spectacular views of Largo de Nicaragua as we approached the Costa Rican border. Another straightforward border crossing into Costa Rica put us on the road to San Jose – yes, we do know the way there – and an encore performance of the soaking from the previous night – oh joy. A ridiculously expensive hotel – top quality steak, cold beer and..a BATH! A BATH! Brilliant! – was home for the night as we attempted to dry out on the outskirts of San Jose that evening. Getting soaked on a bike is probably the most demoralising experience ever – there is nothing you can do when you’re forty miles from a hotel and the water is dribbling down your neck and seeping through your jeans…nasty! The next day got us into San Jose proper, looking for the only hostel mentioned in our up-to-date 1997 guidebook. Finding it proved surprisingly easy (despite warnings from a man on the street that the city wasn’t safe for us!) but it sadly had an atmosphere approximately equivalent to that of the moon, so we dumped our stinking kit in a private room, locked it away and forgot about it for the evening as we checked into a more “hip” hostel a few blocks away. We’re staying in Costa Rica for the next couple of weeks, so hopefully the next update will have SLIGHTLY more detail about the place…apart from the fact that San Jose is cursed with rain every damn day at 4pm (guess it is the rainy season tho), we haven’t found out a great deal yet…!