Hotel Zlača

The best hotel of the journey was the one I needed the most. I’d be happy to see it again, if I ever get the chance to.

It’s hard to describe the relief that one feels after driving through the mountains of Bosnia for hours searching for a hotel at meeting some young men in a parking lot who say, actually yes, there is a hotel in the woods a little ways from here, and we’ll take you there, and following their car to a junction and being told with utter seriousness to continue for fifteen kilometers up a dirt road but make sure you don’t turn right or left until you reach the ravine. You what they say, because well, you don’t have any cell phone coverage and not a lot of better options.

The relief you feel when you’ve driven that dark little road with your eye glued to the odometer, and crossed that ravine and and really came face to face with the glowing lights of a hotel. A real hotel!

And the relief when the man at the reception stands up to greet you in a blue, pressed shirt in his simple, quiet way and hands you the keys that end up being the wrong keys but who cares, and you get into your hotel room and the bed is filled with ladybugs but who cares!

Down in the restaurant, the servers are sitting at a table smoking. When you come in they all stand up without smiling. One takes your order, the second brings you your wine, the third brings you your food, a grey bowl of veal soup and ćevapčići. Then they sit down again and continue to smoke.

After awhile, the third disappears and returns with two slices of birthday cake. With his balding head, he gestures in the direction of a back room, where, as if on cue, an accordion begins to play. Someone begins to sing and everyone is dances slowly. They go on like this for awhile until the power goes out. The first waiter brings over a candle, the second clears away our plates, the third brings over an ashtray. Then they all sit down again. The accordion continues, as if nothing happened. It is dark except for Andreas’ face and the three red circles of their cigarettes.

+ The Hotel Zlača from the outside.
The sign reads: Complaints book is at the reception.