If you travel much, you will get to the point that you want to gag at the site of yet another religious monument or a statue of a proud-looking middle-aged man who no doubt did something notable. If there was a big budget for the statue, he may even be seen riding a horse.
But not even this will impress you.
We’ve all been there, pretending to be interested, fulfilling our obligatory tourist route through the significant landmarks within a destination. All of which are bland and somewhat disappointing.
I had thoroughly thought my tourist attraction days were over.
That was until I heard about The Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb.
This idea thrilled me for two reasons; 1) It was filled with the sort of relationship carnage and shrapnel that any adult today has clung to and then suddenly discarded in equal measure of emotion and 2) It existed in an official capacity and not just in the torn box of belongings I used to keep in the bottom of my closet.
I was filled with a sort of twisted glee at the thought of going. In the midst of my lonely sojourn to Croatia, after getting my visa denied in Norway, and being separated from my boyfriend and new apartment, the excitement of visiting this museum brought me out of my moping and into something new.
I did my makeup and dressed up. I got coffee and a pastry as I walked down the cobblestone street to the museum, feeling the November clouds retreat and the morning sun on my face. I felt hopeful, happy and excited.
The museum itself was understated and I entered in through the side door. The shop contained deliciously cynical gifts.
I’ll take one for everyone on my Christmas list.
I happily dove further inside the labyrinth of rooms and excitedly examined pieces from around the world.
They resembled shards of my own past relationships, sad, sentimental, funny and heart-warming.
But as I continued, things took a turn.
What had begun as a fun intrusion into someone else’s dating path of destruction, started to seem serious.
The Museum of Broken Relationships not only dealt with romantic relationships, but the really sad and helpless ways that relationships end in other circumstances, death, accidents, wars, and disappearances.
As I continued through the halls, a sinking feeling came over me.
It was all just getting a bit sad.
The new was wearing off.
The edges were frayed.
And what was left was the sad truths of humanity at it’s most vicious and most frightened.
I started seeking out only the bright corners and ignoring all the remotely sad-looking paraphernalia.
But I was accosted by it in every direction.
I tip-toed through the last of the museum, searching for the door, averting my eyes from any more of the death and destruction.
As I went back out into the winter sunlight, my makeup still intact but my heart a little heavier, I realized visiting The Museum of Broken Relationships is a little like the experience of a broken relationship itself.
I entered in all excited and enthusiastic and as the reality started to reveal itself in all its terrifying forms, I suddenly felt the need to get out.
Back in the sunlight, I searched out a chocolate shop and decided to file the experience away somewhere I wouldn’t see it very often.
Except for the funny parts- those I kept in photos on my phone.
For me, the Museum of Broken Relationships took me through the shrapnel of other people's relationships in ways that were hilarious, heartbreaking, and relatable.
And despite feeling kidna depressed at the end, this is one my all-time favorite museums.