Closure is an important word. As humans we are bound to witness blooming relationships as well as sad endings. But do we always find solace in the aftermath of a closed chapter?
Our society obliges us to recognize ceremonial marriage, graduation, funeral et al. But how does one deal with an emotional loss which cannot be undone? We usually cope with it through strong support systems or move on to the next best alternative which in many cases changes us forever. Many of us aren’t able to find meaning again and lose our paths. May be its time society creates a mechanism to deal with emotional turbulence for all fellow humans – one single platform.
Conceptualized by Olinka Vistica and Drazen Grubisic, Museum of Broken Relationships started as a travelling exhibition revolving around failed relationships and their ruins. This museum offers a chance to overcome emotional collapse through creation – by contributing to the Museum’s collection.
Located in the capital of Croatia – Zagreb, this museum has a charm like none other.
You might feel vulnerable stepping in, but once the door opens up for you – its all black and white. The grey emotions have matured to become real & you live the story of each article contributed by someone who has a story to tell. And you listen, learn and progress.
The first exhibit was a vinyl single record ‘If you go away’ by Terry Jacks that this lady would listen to on full volume during a teenage breakup with her boyfriend which eventually got resolved but their romance fizzled out & its after 40 years that she let it go by sending the same to the museum.
Another interesting one was a hamburger dog toy which says, “His dog left more traces behind than he did”.
A Caterpillar called ‘Timunaki’ with some legs missing reminiscence of the number of times this couple in a long distance relationship met with a pact of starting a life together on all legs being torn after every meeting – left the caterpillar half invalid as their relationship broke.
Then there was a crate – in which this couple from Manila used to carry items to sell in bazaars. It says, “Time between a relationship and work should not be put in a container.”
A ceramic rolling pin which belonged to a mother who would make gingerbread men with her 6 year old, contributed by this kid who held on to the memory of happy times with her mum in the kitchen when no one would acknowledge the separation & pain until one day when they reunited ! She says I let it go with the thought that now we are together so let the happy times roll.
No I wasn’t sobbing but could imagine each of those beautiful endings.
The white washed walls of this little museum with 4 exhibit rooms had this masterpiece of writing at the entrance on your left which completely heals you at the end of it all.
These lines are from Mary Oliver’s poetry In Backwater Woods –
“To live in this world, you must be able to do three things : to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the times comes to let it go.”
The second day in Budapest is about finding your groove. By now the city has taken over you and you feel at peace with your being here. Its like an explosion of horizon which lets you see beyond.
I woke up early to walk up the Buda hill and watch the Liberty Statue in beautiful colors of morning sky oozing glory in every sense. The view of Pest side of town from here is spectacular! A famous monument here is the Buda Castle which is quite a rocky climb along narrow pathways – you may choose to walk or take a TAXI both experiences are fun! Upon reaching the castle compound you would be revered by the gigantic Mathias church, standing tall under stark sunlight. Some places of worship have a strong vibe which makes you open up your heart and let go of things which have outlived their time. This was one such monument, under which I sat introspecting & knocking off all pieces of self which were making my journey difficult. It was as if this huge baggage had been taken off me and I was ready to move ahead feeling lighter than ever.
Further up is Fisherman’s Bastion, another iconic site which is a neo-Gothic/Roman styled terrace surrounding the church. There is a bronze statue of Stephen I of Hungary mounted on a horse which is a real steal. It seduces you from all angles hovering against the blue sky in beautiful shade of green oxidized bronze. Below this sculpture was a modern day performance artist clad in bronze paint sitting by the rim pretending to eat an apple. With absolutely no movement, he sits there for 2-3 minutes like a statue and then suddenly shocks the passerby tourists by jiggling apples in the air. Hilarious!
With the heat killing your feet, small water fountains a little up ahead were a great respite. I quickly took off my shoes and socks to immerse my feet in cool water. Absolute bliss! Looking around, we saw a wedding taking place with the bride chatting up with friends near a X’mas tree – what a sight ! Pristine white and wedding bells 😀
What better than chancing upon a sweet treat as you end this lovely walk around the castle. I happened to spot the Marzipan Museum with a factory, exhibit and outlet shop a little up ahead. It was like walking into the candy store 😀 A small room full of sculptured marzipan – palace, furniture, people, animals .. you name it and they have ‘Marzipan-ed It’ !!
We picked up marzipan and white chocolate liquor in small handy bottles which made great souvenirs and gifts. Have a look at this marzipan cat, from the royal dynasty and Hogwarts library from Harry Potter below !
Next we walked down the hill towards the Chain bridge to reach Pest side. This was the first ever stone bridge built to connect Buda and Pest also known as the bridge of the Hungarian capital. Two legendary lions on either side of the bridge now are a part of city’s skyline. This bridge was blown away in WW2 and rebuilt 1949.There’s a love lock site somewhere in the middle of the bridge where you can seal your love with a lock swearing by the Danube till eternity. Cute, eh?
Overlooking the Chain Bridge, on the foot of Parliament building along the east bank of Danube is a memorial called ‘The Shoes on the Danube Bank’. This was conceived by director Can Togay to honor Jews killed by Arrow Cross militiamen who ordered them to remove their shoes and shot them by the edge of water so that their bodies would be carried away by the river. It speaks of human loss and tragedy of sorts that will make you sombre as you walk along this great piece of art.
Tired, I walked up to a nearby park with lovely green grass and just lay silent. A city is truly created by its art. It is so evident in this epic place where every sculpture speaks to a tourist of a story that is a part of its land. One truly feels like having lived through the rich history and can connect with the emotions that have been stirred during war and peace.
Finally, I fell in love with the lanky Hungarian poet Joszef Attila sitting by the steps immersed in deep thoughts – truly coming alive ! With heart full of amazement and eyes eager to absorb more, I took a tram to Astoria – back to the hostel for some rest before striking the Heroes Square and Szechenyi baths in the evening. Grabbing a quick bite of Hungarian dark chocolate (which are superb btw) we took a nap followed by a refreshing shower to get ready for the evening.
Budapest is known for its medicinal spring baths which have been there since Ottoman Turkish times with the famous one being Szechenyi at the end of Heroe’s Square. Now this is an open theatrical complex with a cenotaph at its center and sculptures of captains of seven Hungarian tribes beautifully built in arch shape. In the middle is Millennium Memorial which is a significant Hungarian landmark featured globally. The top of this column has archangel Gabriel depicted beautifully. This complex hosts cultural and political events for the country. Also, at the bottom of cenotaph is a artisan bronze plate marking the site for spring well providing water for the bath.
We had booked a month in advance for a Spa Party here which is a rare event with trans music and lazer light show drumming up the ecstatic senses of people around. We truly enjoyed this magically healing experience of sorts. Immersing in warm waters and dancing to the beats of hallucinating trans. There was an open bar with stuff doing rounds – I can say planet Venus would have a similar trippy scene. Absolute fun !
And this was not all ! One needs a hydrated body with great energy to head towards the 4th district at 3 AM in the morning when the Ruin pub crawl begins ! Yes, you read it correct. The Jewish 4th district is today home to youth from around the world who visit Budapest for partying and it has some fantastic bars and eateries. We flanked into Szimpla Cafe and ate to our hearts at Bors Gastro Bar – absolutely must have hot dogs ever!
Great day & night, we were neatly done ! Next, we went back to the hostel to pack our bags and leave for Croatia! Splendid Adriatic beauty awaits us with supreme experiences on offer.
That story is for my next post. Ciao.
Where vibrant energies meet & converge with the idyllic setting of this capital city into that space lets resonate to become one. Budapest is more than just a beauty, it is a journey into the past, present & future only if you let it take over.
Its rich history from the early Celtic settlement to the Battle of Budapest & Revolution in mid-1900s interspersed by Mongol invasion, Ottoman rule & Austrian settlement; is so epic that one can feel it even today in places around the corner. Be it the ruined pubs, WWII memorabilia stores, world heritage sites, manholes on the streets, statues almost coming alive in the middle of a street or healing spring baths.
There is so much to see that your feet will never give up even when temperatures soar to 36 degrees in August! This was the precise time of the year when I visited Budapest in 2015. Kudos to Hungarian government for they made arrangements like distribution of free drinking water packs near city park & cold water sprinklers outside cafes along the streets for tourists & locals to cool it off.
So here we were in early Aug – definitely at the peak of tourism when city is bustling with new faces every minute. Most of the European teens were here to attend the famous #Sziget #Festival so we ended up being denied a pre-booked hostel room at Hostel Budapest Center located near the famous Astoria Hotel at about 2 AM. But, such was the hospitality of courteous guests and hostel manager who offered us a bed to sleep until morning when possibly we could have our room. Now that’s real CRM, love you guys! Absolutely funky place, with great posters on their walls. Very sweet hosts who love to interact with travelers and share stories. This place was my first choice after reading reviews on Booking.com, Hostelworld.com, Hostelbookers.com etc. and it didn’t disappoint me at all! Quick tip, bookings should be done at least 2 months in advance so that you get a good price and secure rooms.
We walk out of our hostel, and it’s a lovely main street with shops and cafes. We grab a quick croissant and coffee, sit down to have it. Budapest’s coffee culture is vivid and thriving since 1910′s. Since then there came about 500 coffee houses scattered around the city. Among the historic coffee houses is, a 120 year old grand cafe which witnessed the creation of many important pieces of Hungarian literature. At The New York Cafe at Boscolo Hotel we delightfully sat at a table dedicated to Kertész Mihály’s Casablanca 😀 The lines, “Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship” on the table top were indeed a reminder of our own meeting as a couple. Not to miss their Iced Creme Brulee Latte!
Next we met a Hungarian friend of my husband’s who took us out for lunch at Cafe Intenzo. This is a romantic place with mouth watering Ghoulash, Paprika sauce and roasted lamb dish with huge portions making us feel at home. P.S. We did it twice ‘cos it was so good at such an amazing price!
After lunch we walked up to the central market hall which is a great place for sightseeing & shopping. Flanked with locals & tourists alike this place has some amazing cultural stuff, souvenirs, food & drinks to offer. We got ourselves the potent WWII origin drink called Unicum 😀 It is a must pick and one has to sniff it to know it. Hungarian sausages are an essential part of the cuisine. They produce many types like boiled, fresh, dried, smoked and spiced. These are eaten like cold cuts or as an ingredient in stews, soups and salads. The famous Gyulai sausage is slow cooked while being beech wood smoked. It is made up of pork, bacon fat, garlic, pepper and Hungarian red paprika. The best local brand is ‘Pick’ as suggested by our friend and they have highest quality standards. We got some for our friends back home and they relished it for days!
Our first evening in the city turned out great! With a cruise on river Danube, we swayed to the echoes of iconic monuments like Parliament, Buda Castle, Danube promenade, Liberty statue along the way crossing 7 bridges including the famous Chain Bridge. It’s mesmerizing to look at the skyline just like some Disney cinematic experience! You would come across many tour agency volunteers near City Park helping you book tickets for the cruise and other cultural shows. It’s a long walk to get on board but all worth it when you hit the upper deck and the well-lit buildings lure you from every angle. It’s truly a dramatic performance with giant like structures beckoning you.
Oh, did I mention Hungarian folk dance show by Gypsy musicians that we got to catch at Budai Vigado Hall along with philharmonic orchestra performance. It was royal & magical. The performers had great energies and a fabulous smile throughout the program.
Remember, all this while we were on the Pest side of this city. Towards the north lies Buda beyond river Danube. Which is on our itinerary for day 2. One would always find a story at any nook and corner of this city.
Be it the sculptures, manholes, sign boards, street walls, underground art or WW2 curios shops.
You would find so much out there to capture and absorb that it feels like you are becoming a part of this city very quickly. Damn it’s a wonderful city with passionate people, I am writing more about it in my next post!