(More) Real life locations of my stories … in Bosnia

I had fun taking photos of my newest short story collection, Drink Wine and Be Beautiful, in some of the locations I write about in my book.

You can find some of those Roman and Abruzzo locations and corresponding passages of my stories here.

Because thoughts of travel are never far from my mind when writing, I’ve decided to create additional posts with more story locations you’ll find in my collection…

Discovering oneself in Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina in Stari most

I always adore travel in the Balkans, a beautiful and haunting mélange of various religions, cultures and former colonizers that ensured a complex past – and I am a sucker for complex, multicultural histories. When I visited Mostar, I knew it had to incorporate this stunning town into one of my stories.

In my story Stari most, Victoria is an up and coming hotel manager, with a knack for launching luxurious properties across Europe. Always cool and professional, she handles work stress beautifully, confronting problems head-on. But that coolness seeps into her personal life, too. On a solo trip to Mostar, she is able to delve into the complicated reasons she builds defensive walls around her heart.

View from Koski Mosque, Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina/ Kimberly Sullivan

“Victoria made her way to the Koski mosque, paid her entrance fee and picked up a head scarf provided for female visitors. She gave only a cursory glance at the small mosque before making her way to the steps of the minaret, the steep narrow steps that seemed to go on forever in the narrow stairwell that allowed only cracks of light to filter through. She was relieved to eventually see the golden light filtering into the stairwell, indicating she had finally reached the top.

As Victoria stepped into the bright sunlight, she caught her breath. It was so overwhelmingly perfect. The rugged cliffs to her right. The smooth, glassy surface of aquamarine water of the Neretva River, the lushness of the green trees framing the cool, grey stone of the buildings on either side of the river. And there, at the center of it all, Stari most, the Old Bridge. The ancient Ottoman Bridge was destroyed in the shelling of 1993 and painstakingly rebuilt, stone by original stone. Man had created such beauty, destroyed it, and erected it once again. She admired its high, elegant arch suspended gracefully between two bulky watchtowers, spanning the green-blue waters of the Neretva and casting its shadow below.

A perfect first view, thought Victoria, soaking it all in. Victoria treasured these moments of beauty when she travelled. She stood in absolute silence, willing the image to fix itself in her mind. She felt the warmth of the sun and the light breeze that lifted her hair. She breathed deeply. Surely life should always be filled with perfect moments like these.”

View from Koski Mosque, Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina/ Kimberly Sullivan

And yes, like my character, Victoria, I also felt that this view from the Koski Mosque perch was a pretty perfect first view of Mostar

Solo travel can be the perfect time for reflection, as Victoria realizes throughout the day as she explores this town she is visiting for the first time.

“Later in the day, Victoria sat at an outdoor terrace with a view over the Kriva cuprija, the Crooked Bridge. This smaller Ottoman Bridge spanned a tiny creek, with quick-moving, translucent water flowing beneath the arch and over the grey and golden stones of the creek bed. From her perch on the sun-drenched terrace, Victoria could admire the grey stone bridge and the minaret towering above it. She closed her eyes, tilting her face upward, feeling the sun’s rays tanning her cheeks.”

Crooked Bridge, Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina/ Kimberly Sullivan

The Kriva cuprija, or Crooked Bridge, Mostar

I was tickled by a review of my collection from The Feathered Quill that commented on the descriptions in Stari most of drinking Bosnian coffee: “And if a reader is ever searching for a book of short stories that describes the right way to enjoy Bosnian coffee, well, this is that story collection. This is a wonderful read for those who love a book that guides the imagination to foreign destinations with a feeling of being at home anywhere in the world.”

So, only fitting I end with a photo of the instruments to enjoy this local delight (and yes, I had good local teachers to instruct me the proper Bosnian coffee rules) … I am nothing if not a fully dedicated coffee scholar!

For more info on my short story collection, click here.

Bosnian coffee / Kimberly Sullivan



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