I LOVE travel, but boy; it’s good to be home.
I’m back at Hammond Towers after a whistlestop tour, taking in five countries in 10 days, albeit most of them only stopovers on the way to somewhere else.
I’m on cigar safari for the next instalment of Around The World in 80 Cigars, which I’ve announced will be out later in 2023. There is some more exciting news regarding the book around the corner, but for now, I was travelling hard to cigar country, tracking down makers, checking out the fields and factories, and discovering adventures that I can recount to you in the new instalment.
It’s a sequel to Around The World in 80 Cigars – The Travels of An Epicure, which has sold 5,000 copies and counting all over the world. The sequel will be titled Around The World in 80 Cigars – There and Back Again.
After a 2am alarm on a Sunday morning – that’s the first time that’s ever happened, I can tell you – I flew out of a chill Heathrow on the first flight, at 0620 to Madrid. After a couple of hours in the Spanish capital, I then flew 11 hours onto Panama – and then had five hours to kill before my final leg to Tegulcigalpa in Honduras. My bags never arrived. At midnight, I caught a cab to my hotel – a mere hour and a half away. Just before two, I gratefully collapsed into bed, but typically, couldn’t sleep. My taxi arrived for me at 6am.
I’m not expecting a concerto from the smallest violin in the world, but this can be the reality of independent journalism in the cigar sphere. It ain’t easy.
After another journey of a couple of hours, I was in Danli, cigar capital of Honduras. And hot, not a little ripe, and still in the same togs I’d put on a couple of days before, I arrived at the hotel to be greeted by Christian Eiroa of CLE cigars – and around 20 or so American retailers who were also on a fact-finding trip. They were a lot fresher than I, that’s for sure.
From here, it was a blur of fields and factories, which ended, somewhat erratically, in an early hours karaoke session. Boy, what a welcome to Honduras. Dear Reader, I didn’t feel up to singing, so stayed with a cold beer and cigars on the verandah. Another long day ensued, which included an intriguing cigar blending session with the CLE rollers, and I was on my way again, this time to the land border with Nicaragua at Las Manos. Now, that was an experience, let me tell you. I’ll save the story for There and Back Again.
Next, I was in the capable hands of the Oliva team in Nica. I’ll tell you about that in next week’s blog.