The bus we intend to take to Pula does not leave until 12:30pm and Pam intends to make use of our last morning in Zagreb by visiting the strangely titled ‘Museum of Broken Relationships’ which opens at 9:00am. We must also pick up our laundry and pack our bags before catching the tram to the bus terminal once more.
It is going to be a busy morning. We leave our apartment by 8:30am to ensure we make it on time.
Gentle rain is falling as we set out with steam issuing with each exhalation in the chilly Zagreb air.
I was confident of being able to find our way back to the top of the old city where the museum resides however somehow I manage to take a wrong turn and we find ourselves walking in the wrong direction.
We need to turn left and climb steeply.
I see a long wooden staircase that appears to be heading in the right direction and we grind our way to the top. I take my ‘breathable’ Rainbird coat off at the top to allow the steam to evacuate from all sides of my body before it condensates and soaks my clothing.
The Rainbird is only effective as a raincoat if I do not move vigorously, maybe it would work well in falling snow.
Large, old and expensive looking houses line the narrow street we find ourselves on. I can see the mosaic tiled roof of St Marks church and knowing the Museum of Broken Relationships we are searching for is nearby we head back towards it.
We make the Museum by 9:15am (not bad), the girl selling tickets asks us where we are from and informs us that along with the one other patron so far this morning the museum has 100% Australian visitors.
The Museum of Broken Relationships is uniquely hard to categorize. The displays themselves are composed of items donated by people from all over the world that in one way or another symbolize the ending of a romantic relationship accompanied by written statements from the donor regarding the emotions, feeling, locations, intensity, timing of the separation.
The displays range from simple items such as a bottle opener shaped like a key to ornate articles of clothing.
The statements accompanying the displays range from a single sentence to long disjointed monologues.
The emotions range from the bland and uncaring to the furious and rampant to poignant grief filled mourning.
Two beautiful poems written by a mother and daughter after the death of the husband/father have us wiping the smoke from our eyes.
A clock with the face ‘We broke up on Skype’ has me laughing despite the outrage of the accompanying message.
Dolls, soft toys, padded handcuffs, shoes, an ex-axe from Berlin, a love letter pasted on shattered glass.
A novel (Stop all the Clocks) written by Veronica St Clare after her partner was stabbed to death in their bedroom by two men in front of her.
The eclectic displays are vaguely catagorised within the museum according to emotions mentioned by the donor or reasons for the separation. Rooms have names such as Casual or Long Distance Relationships, Whims of Desire, The Rage and Fury, Relationships that End in Death, Rites of Passage.
I had no expectations (indeed no knowledge) about the museum prior to entry and find myself unexpectedly moved as Pam and I wander from room to room. The museum area is not large (this is not the Louvre) yet we spend an hour and a half viewing all the exhibits.
As we sit in the cafe that is attached to the museum Pam expresses her feelings about what a unique, moving experience it has been.
It shows the power of a good idea.
We have a schedule to keep today so we are soon back out in the light drizzle and heading down another set of stairs that take us back to the Cathedral area so we can pick up our washing.
60 Kuna ($12 au) later we are making our way back to our apartment. Other than slipping the bags full of washing into our backpacks we are almost prepared. We do our leaving routine to check we have got all our gear, heave our packs onto our shoulders, wave goodbye to the lovely apartment and then we are back out into the Zagreb streets heading for the main square.
It is about 11:30 by the time the number six tram rattles up. Pam is stressing about making the bus on time as we push our way onto the tightly packed tram.
With our full packs it is hard to balance against the movement of the tram without jostling the passengers wedged beside us. This is an older tram with no air-conditioning, the windows are dripping with condensed exhalations, it seems people all around us are coughing and sneezing.
It is a claustrophobic warren of disease.
The trip to the bus terminal takes about fifteen minutes however seems much longer, as we pop out into the cool fresh air Pam says that she was ‘just about to lose the plot’ and that ‘the stop had come just in time’.
We buy our bus tickets with half an hour to spare and eat a vege kebab while waiting.
On the three and a half hour bus journey which winds through some very picturesque country I attempt to work on the blog as well as read some information regarding our next destination Pula.
I read that Pula is the site of one of the most complete remaining Roman Amphitheaters and think with dread about how far Pam is going to make me walk to see such a sight.
We alight from the bus in Pula, work out which direction our new apartment lies in and set off.
The apartment is a little over a kilometer from the bus station around a long gentle corner.
As we arrive we see the Amphitheater is literally right next door to our apartment building.
Mick and Pam