2 Special Museums (You SHOULD Visit) in Zagreb, Croatia
7 September 2015 Zagreb, Croatia
In between long days of travel, and getting from one destination to another, there are always these periods of rest. Sometimes you get rest days; where you do nothing and have a chilled relaxed day in the same city, other times, you get rest destinations.
This is what Zagreb was for my friend and I. After jam packed exploring days in the hot sun, we decided to take it slow in Zagreb. Many people in the online travel community have lamented about how this capital of Croatia has not lived up to their expectations, but well, for the both of us, we enjoyed our relaxing, cool weathered, peaceful day in Zagreb.
Even though it was a rest day, it is very unlikely i'd do nothing in a day when I'm abroad, so my friend and I decided to flip through a list of potential museums our Airbnb Host left us. We weren't up for big museums, so we decided to give 2 smaller thematic museums a look. Of course, not before having lunch!
We had some affordable food at a small restaurant called Fotic, which has one of the cutest shop decoration.
The food wasn't anything too fancy, but it was delicious, and worth the money. I think Croatia generally has decently priced, and tasty food options!
And can we please take a moment for that cute purple bicycle outside the restaurant. YES. A purple bicycle against a white brick wall. It pleases me on so many levels!
After lunch, we headed on to our first special museum of the day.
THE MUSUEM OF BROKEN RELATIONSHIPS
When we first saw it in the list of museums, we thought, oh how can people create a museum out of broken relationships? How does it even work? We were definitely interested in checking it out.
Plus, we had already been talking about the topic of relationships the past few days during our meals and downtime, it just felt quite apt.
When you first walk in to the display area (I'm calling it a display area because it does not look like a conventional museum) you get to read the whole reason behind the museum and where they got their display items from.
Basically, people from all over the world donate an item that symbolises a relationship, usually one that has ended, some ended good, some ended bad, and along with that item, a story or explanation about that broken relationship.
There were all sorts of stories, from long relationships to short flings, 3 months, 3 years, 10 years, the ones who left without saying goodbye, or the ones who got away. Some stories were so fairytale like it was so hard to believe, and there were others were so simple and realistic. Yet, all these stories seemed just as poignant.
The picture above signified a broken relationship between a father and their kids, and how these 2 figurines were supposed to be a reminder of the bond between them.
The dresses below belonged to the donor's mother, and she passed away, leaving behind these and the donor felt was time to let go, thus donating these items.
I like how the they categorised the display/museum into different segments, relationships between partners, and relationships between parents and child.
Even though most of the stories were very heart wrenching, I think stories about the brokenness of parent - child relationships really got to me. It was literally a whole different level of heart break compared to partner relationships. Of course, nobody really categorises heartbreak, because heartbreak is heartbreak, and it hurts no matter.
One part of the museum was a huge wall, and thick book where people can express their love, write a note or share their stories. Just looking at the wall alone, you can see the number of people who have broken relationships. There were writings in so many different languages, and it just hits you how everyone goes through heart break and how common the pain of relationships is. Sometimes we don't ever let go, and I think that's that hard and sad part about life.
Letting go may be hard because you let go of both the good and bad, and more often than not, because we don't want to let go of the good parts (no matter how few there were) we too hold on to the bad parts of a relationship.
After a rather emotional experience in the first museum, we decided to take walk around the city centre of Zagreb, and slowly make our way to our next museum.
Our next museum was actually really hard to locate. According to our maps, it was supposed to be just round the corner from our Airbnb apartment, but after walking for a few rounds we weren't able to find it. We had half a mind to give up, but as we sat in our apartment, we looked at the clock and thought, it doesn't close for another 30 minutes, why not we give it another shot.
Eventually we found ourselves on the 3rd floor of what appeared to be like a school for the visually handicap, and we got led via some back door to the
Basically, this museum displayed the life of someone who was visually impaired, how their day was like, and it also allowed us to see the various works of these people. Not only that, we were introduced to the whole concept of braille, and even got to attempt at punching braille.
Our first experience was walking in the dark room with a walking stick, trying to figure out what items are on the walls, and feeling our way around. When it was pitch black, the room felt as though it was so huge! But after we finished the trail and they turned on the lights, we realised it was actually just a small room.
Although I could feel and recognise the different materials, textures and shapes, I kept bumping into the wall the whole time, and just not knowing where I was going. It was to the point I had to walk with one hand ON the wall! This experience really allows you to be put into the shoes of someone who is visually impaired.
Other than having really good displays and information, the museum was also very interactive. There was this station where we could be blindfolded and then attempt to draw one another base on memory. Well.... as you can tell, it was pretty much a flop.
At another station, we were able to punch braille with this puncher, and after punching what I thought was a secret message, I realised, I wrote the words backwards. So much for a secret message. Guess no one will know what it says - not even me because I no longer remember!
It's just amazing to see the works of the visually impaired. Like how in the world do they create artwork so beautiful! It baffles me. I was going on and on about how even with all 5 senses I couldn't paint anything half as beautiful. Talent truly shines, regardless of one's physical incapacities.
This museum really just bumps up the respect I have for the visually impaired. So, so, so, much admiration for their tenacity and determination to live.
I have always hesitated/been reluctant when it comes to visiting small, thematic, museums, because, in the past my concept has been "If I'm paying for it, I need to make my money's worth!" But this experience in Zagreb, Croatia has really showed how small museums too have their own impact and sometimes, you learn way more than visiting the conventional huge art or science museums!