|Valley behind Jajce|
Today saw a trip to the Central Bosnian town of Jajce, about 80 miles north-west of Sarajevo. Roads are customarily narrow, winding and tricky throughout this moutaninous land, and most of today's route was no exception, featuring long, slow ascents up hill (for long periods behind heavy, antiquated lorries carrying half a felled deciduous wood) and then darting like a falling flash of light down an uncoiling spring, on the other side.
|[British Rail Voice]We Apologise for the Disruption to your waterfall. Normal Service will be resumed as soon as possible [/British Rail Voice]|
|AVNOJ in Jajce, November 1943. Tito is fifth from the right in the front row.|
|...and as it is today, almost unchanged. Tito's chair was positioned right before the lectern.|
The building, subsequently, became a central focus of the partisan legend, and its status as one of the main legitimating factors of Tito's leadership in peace-time. A trip here was a very common experience for Yugoslav schoolchildren, and the name and legend of Jajce was imprinted on their minds in history lessons. A very enthusiastic elderly guide showed us around the place, and there wasn't quite the cloying sense of sadness that I had found at Tito's mausoleum in Belgrade. Yugoslavia may be dead and buried, politically, but there is still the sense of important and significant history- for the whole region- having taken place here, even if the museum's visitor numbers have declined dramatically in the last twenty years.
|Looking west-by-north-west from the fortress walls|
The drive back through Travnik, the town made famous by Ivo Andrić's Bosnian Chronicle, in the gloaming, was memorable. Bosnia is softly, gently fading from summer green to autumn gold.
Tomorrow it's Mostar: then, I had an e-mail saying I could go and visit the closed National gallery and see the collection on Monday. Happy days!