Mum, the bearer of all things luxurious and affordable, has done it again. We’re staying in the Sheraton at a crazy discounted price in Zagreb, her karma-driven reward for battling the busy streets of Croatia’s capital. Cars share the roads with trams in Zagreb so you can imagine the stress.
The skies are smudged over with rainy afterthoughts, but we are not ones to let a single day go to waste, regardless of how comfortable the beds are. We saunter over to the Museum of Broken Relationships, the perfect way to end our fling with Croatia 🙂 The walk itself seems to mirror many of the relationships described in the museum’s exhibits: Beautiful and exciting at the beginning, some gray skies in the middle, a steep climb towards the end. This, of course, is not a representation of most relationships, but some of these exhibits seem to suggest otherwise.
Zagreb’s Museum of Broken relationships, a creative and cathartic experience, is as quirky as it sounds. It was founded in 2006 by Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišić, earning the EMYA Kenneth Hudson Award as the most innovative and daring museum project in Europe four years later. Although its original and permanent location is in Zagreb, the museum has inspired dozens of pop-ups throughout the world. Heartbreak, after all, is universal.
Mum and I enter the museum without expectations as it’s hard to know what to expect from a museum based on failed relationships.
The Four-room space is made up of physical representations of the many emotions connected to the good, the bad and the ugly of relationships. Donated to the museum from all corners of the world, each object is paired with an anonymous yet personable story. Such a cool premise, right?!
The first part of the museum is mostly humorous, displaying the ramifications of shattered lust rather than the tragic end of Titanic-grade romance.
There are also a few funny tales of mild revenge.
Colorado clearly has many food-related love stories to tell 🙂
Other objects are rather gross (no offense to whoever sent them in). To be fair, I do not read the entire story behind it, but the twenty-year-old scab from a former lover is a little too much for my taste!
Some items also reveal the unexpected. When I see a black lacy bra hanging on the wall, I automatically assume it symbolizes a salacious affair. To my surprise, it actually represents a courageous woman who learned to love her body again after receiving a double mastectomy.
This museum illustrates that there are so many types of love and heartbreak, encapsulated in an infinite amount of objects.
The remaining rooms of the museum relay several devastating tales of wartime romance. Wedding dresses that were never worn, rings that were never given, and letters that were never answered are on full display.
I applaud this museum’s ability to capture the humor and tragedy of love in one rather small space. It houses the artifacts of romantic, platonic, familial, forbidden and unrequited love, creatively capturing every facet with compassion, hilarity and an artful eye. Whether you’re happily in love, happily out of love, or the person whose toaster was stolen, the Museum of Broken Relationships is a must!
After the museum, Mum and I, partly broken by hunger, hurry to a recommended restaurant nearby for a scrumptious dinner. When you’re next in Zagreb, be sure to check out Nokturno! Positioned in Zagreb’s pleasant Old Town, a visit to this restaurant is the perfect way to recover from any residual heartbreak you may have incurred from the Museum of Broken Relationships.
Happily full, physically and creatively, Mum and I return to the hotel and collapse in our beds. We journey home the following morning, our adventure quota maxed out and our solid mother-daughter relationship still intact. The GPS gives us one last surprise when it takes us back to Bratislava via the Hungarian route. Only after several minutes and a closer examination of the insanely long road signs do we realize we are not in Austria – a common occurrence in Central Europe, I suppose!
After a pleasant few hours down the country roads of Hungary, we return the car, victoriously, without a scratch.
Final synopsis of resplendent Croatia: There are many positive words and phrases that can be attributed to both my mother and Croatia, but “evokes a sense of security” is not one of them.
In other words, a visit to Croatia is a must, but if you’re going to brave the Adriatic coast, I recommend bringing your mother along, because no one can scare you in the most loving and rewarding of ways like a mum.
Thanks for scaring me, Mum!! XOXO