Zagreb, Croatia: The Museum of Broken Relationships.

I have a confession to make: I’ve had a serious crush on the Balkans for a few months now. It all began way before I left the States and that curiosity only grew while I was in Europe. This flash trip through the Balkans was simply a tease and I’m really sorry that I have to write all of these short and sweet descriptions because every city/country deserves SO much more.

Screen Shot 2018-02-17 at 1.33.50 AM.png

A quick google search of Croatia delivered a sea of links about coastal port cities, medieval sites and the location we all grew to love/hate in Game of Thrones, Kings Landing. I was only in Croatia for a few days because I decided to head south towards Serbia instead of taking the coastal Croatian route. In the few short days, I discovered that this modest little city holds the tallest church in Croatia, a Cannon Tower that shoots off a cannon every day at noon, and the shortest Funicular in the world stretching a whole whopping 66 meters. Zagreb is also known for having more museums per capita than any other city in the world! With all of the museums squeezed into one Croatian city, there was one that stuck out the most.

The “Museum of Broken Relationships.”

Yes, it is exactly what it sounds like.

We’ve all dealt with breakups, and we all have our own unique personal stories that are impossible to share with total accuracy. We try to explain everything to our closest friends, but its impossible. This museum is dedicated to the artifacts left over by past lovers, anything from shoes worn during brief romantic encounters, a hamburger toy left over from an ex’s dog, a toaster, to the iconic lawn gnome. This museum has something for everyone who has ever felt heartbreak and not in a depressing, pity-party inducing way.  This museum boasts forgiveness and resilience.  This museum sparked a lot of emotions for me, and it brought up a lot of old questions I used to ask myself. Why is it so hard to realize when “love” dies? Why do we settle for situations that we do not desire? There is a stark difference between being in love with someone and loving the idea of a person. Why do they have to feel so similar? This museum operates purely on donations given by past visitors. I thought to myself “What would I donate?”

Screen Shot 2018-02-17 at 1.34.43 AM.png

Here’s my story.

I would donate a little green glass caterpillar that currently lives on a shelf in North Carolina. This little green caterpillar has been shuffled around from place to place without any desire for holding onto it. The caterpillar was given to me by an ex-boyfriend. We bought each other these little glass figurines a few weeks before we finally separated. There wasn’t anything symbolic about this glass caterpillar, we just thought they were cute and we were a couple so we had to do cute things, right? After almost 3 years, we loved each other but we still didn’t have a clue.

Anyway, the reason I would donate this little green caterpillar is because I just can’t seem to get rid of it. After the breakup, I threw it into my closet which doubled as an abyss for old memories and trinkets stored away into individual time capsule boxes. The following year, I lost my family home to a house fire. As I sifted through what was left of my old room, I found only a handful of salvageable things including a lens cap, a copy of “Catcher in the Rye” and that little green glass caterpillar. Let me put this into perspective for you. Your family home just burned down and instead of finding those cherished photographs or your laptop containing years of writing and memories..

You find an old lens cap, your least favorite book and a gift from your ex-boyfriend..

Don’t worry, I can’t help but giggle about that sort of bad luck too.

Later that Spring, I moved to Asheville. I was getting ready to start a new life in North Carolina and I couldn’t be happier. I called my parents and asked them to mail that box of belongings I left at their house. The box arrived on the porch a few days later and it felt like ages since I took a peek inside. I found my collection of Long Island shells and beach glass. I found my stuffed sloth, a few clothes and hidden away at the bottom of the box, that little green glass caterpillar.

Screen Shot 2018-02-17 at 1.36.19 AM.png
Grič cannon, Lotrščak Tower

I was never inclined to save this little glass caterpillar, but apparently I never had a choice. To anyone else this caterpillar would just be a cheap trinket you find at dollar stores or your annual local fair. To me, it’s a relic from many different chapters in life. At one point it reminded me of my first love. At another point it was symbolic because it was one of the few sentimental keepsakes I had left. For now, the caterpillar can be found on top of my favorite little book exchange, where transient folks come and go keeping the library fresh and new. The caterpillar may be a fragmented memory of a broken relationship, but it’s also an unexpected souvenir from many different chapters over the past 5 years.

Come on, if this little green glass caterpillar can survive a breakup, a house fire, and still end up in my possession after how much I’ve moved around.. It belongs in a museum like this.

So, I’m curious about your stories. What would you donate?

I’ve asked some friends and I’ve gotten a whole variety of stories. So.. Would it be a beer stained note scribbled onto the back of a T.G.I. Fridays napkin? A ziplock bag containing the first phone number you ever received? A plastic sword someone gifted to you after finding it wedged beneath a booth at work? Or a necklace you swore you would never take off? We all know it’s not that sweatshirt you “accidentally” stole because who are we kidding? Winter is coming, you never give those sweatshirts back.

Send me your stories, I’d love to hear them.

With love,

The Three Toed Traveler.

Here’s a link to the Museum, they have pictures and stories on the explore page.

L.A. Friends! Go check out the MoBR, they recently opened one in your city 🙂


4 Comments Add yours

  1. It’s not only because of Zagreb 🙂 Maybe you’ll thank me, maybe you’ll curse me but…. I love reading your blog and I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Awards:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. threetoedtravel says:

      Hey I really appreciate it 🙂 Thanks a bunch.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s