“For a man filled with a great, true and unselfish love, even if it be on one side only, there open horizons and possibilities and paths which are closed and unknown to so many clever, ambitious, and selfish men.” -Ivo Andrić, The Bridge on the Drina
Something about small, sleepy towns, of which Višgrad is surely one, makes you feel so very alone. People stare as you walk by, little old ladies mumble their concern about your presence (a woman alone!) and the sounds of nothing but mountains and river give the impression that if something were to happen to you in this place where nothing ever happens, no one would ever know. Nothing from the outside world comes in, so you wonder if such a novelty would ever get out.
The worry is, of course, irrational. Likely worries only big city girls get when the world becomes just too quiet. Nonetheless, the quiet of Višgrad is exactly the way Ivo Andrić described it…no, actually the little town seems even too small and quiet for the events of The Bridge on the Drina to ever seem plausible. The idea that a war could touch this little place tucked between the mountains (or are they hills?) seems impossible…and yet, history has proven otherwise. So there you go.
I contemplated many things along this great, stone legend. The calm river, the fishermen, and the ominous old women who whispered as I passed really set the mood for some deep thought, not all of it pleasant, but then hearing your mind when no other sounds exist hardly ever is.
The Liberated Polyglot