It's the second night of what was supposed to be a one night stopover in Zagreb. I decided to land here after two days in Belgrade and three days in Veliko Tarnovo before that. The plan was for me to spend just enough time in Zagreb to walk around the city, check out the Museum of Broken Relationships, and then skirt on to Budapest. I accomplished the first parts and failed on the last. It seems that I misread the departures board at the train station and got on the wrong train. The Budapest-bound train had left the station before I realized my mistake. Fortunately, I was able to hop off the other train before it left. I'm still unsure where exactly it was headed, but I do know that it certainly wasn't stopping in Budapest.
Because of my rail pass, missing this train cost me nothing more than another day here in Zagreb. It's a pleasant city to spend time in, so I have no complaints. The city has attractive architecture and is easy to walk around. It's a quiet place and I enjoyed just relaxing, it is the weekend after all.
I will be catching the early train to Budapest tomorrow and you better believe that I will hop on the right one this time.
As I referenced above, the one thing I really wanted to see while in Zagreb was the Museum of Broken Relationships. I checked it out this morning and it delivered as I had hoped. Unique, funny, heartbreaking, tender, and very well curated are all words to describe this small museum housed in an old baroque palace. It's a museum that is easy (perhaps painfully so) to connect to and I have never seen anything quite like it.
Mementos range from a basketball jersey to an old checkbook to an axe used to smash an ex's furniture. The stories and types of relationships are as varied as the objects on display. Some are of brief encounters or unrequited love, others detail the loss of a parent, others still are decades long marriages fallen apart. In the course of one string of displays your feelings can be pulled a dozen directions.
Objects on display come from across the world. The museum accepts donations of items associated with broken relationships without imposing any real parameters. They are displayed with a basic description including the donor's location, the period of the relationship, and some description provided by the donor. The shortest description I saw on display was for a Linksys router from a donor in San Francisco- "We tried. Not compatible." That's a failed relationship I can understand.
The longest descriptions were several paragraphs and tended to detail relationships that were more involved than one with a piece of networking technology, like the woman who donated olive pits from the man with whom she carried on a years long emotionally draining affair.
The Museum of Broken Relationships is a concept that seems so odd yet universal. It is worth visiting if in Zagreb. I love weird museums and this is one done right.