I had only just jumped out of the van in Višegrad in Republika Srpska when I got to know that the town’s only hotel (Hotel Višegrad, ca. 40€) was closed for renovation. There were also no more vans leaving the small town that evening. A very interesting problem indeed, but not one that had ever scared me.
I strolled down the main road of what seemed to be a very cozy town, and small enough to go by foot anywhere. Getting hungry I started looking for a place to eat. After browsing a few alternatives I walked down in something best described as a smoke-filled cellar blasting Balkan pop music. Seems like I was the only patron, but the owner was a talkative friendly chap that despite not speaking a word of English, managed to take an order which I had put forward basically as “anything that resembles food”.
Lucky as I was, the food was delicious and he kept on talking. Not many foreigners in the town I would guess, so I bet he found me a bit amusing. An hour and a few beers later or so, when I still hadn’t figured out where to sleep for the night, he gave me his phone. It was his brother who fortunately spoke much better English than him. We chit-chatted for a while and he said his brother room for rent in his house. He would drive me out there whenever I want, he would drive me back in the morning and serve me breakfast. He asked for 7€ which I happily agreed to.
Problem sorted. I left my bags at his restaurant to grab a beer in the city. I met a waitress in her late 30’s and chatted away for a few hours. I even went back to the restaurant and asked the guy if we could leave a bit later, that was okay. Her son walked by and I got introduced, a teen with dark hair who loved metal. She told me stories about how she was actually born in another city but was put on a bus to another city when the war started. Višegrad itself had been a city as all other cities in former Yugoslavia where everyone lived side by side, children playing together etc.. Until one day it just wasn’t so anymore. Višegrad actually hosted some really dark events which I’m not going to take up here but you can find information about it online.
After some more stories and clinging our glasses I went back to the dude’s restaurant. Off we went to a cozy little house a 10-15 minutes drive away from the city. His wife showed me my bed, found me a towel and off I went to the land of dreams. The next morning we drove back to his restaurant, and I got my breakfast as promised. Belly full, I said my farewells and off I went to Sarajevo.
I did not know anything about Višegrad before my arrival but later found out that it hosts the Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge (1571-1577) listed on the UNESCO list of world heritage sites. The bridge built in 1577 is very beautiful and as can be seen from my pictures it’s possible to go up on the hill on one side to snap some nice pictures. The colour of the water makes the view spectacular.
There’s a tourist information (which I missed) opposite the Hotel Višegrad. There’s supposedly some kayaking tours arranged on the river Drina.
There’s a graveyard past the city serving as a memorial for the fallen during the Yugoslav wars.
Also, the train tracks in the city goes to Mokra Gora which I plan to visit and write about on my next trip.
Most of the town can be walked to, have a stroll during daytime is a good bet. Stop for a coffee and enjoy the atmosphere. As everywhere in the Balkans, chances are you’ll meet some friendly people.