The Museum of Hangovers

If you read this morning’s post, you know that, other than my visit to the Museum of Broken Relationships, I had a frustrating morning. If you did read it, you probably think the afternoon couldn’t be much more frustrating. Well, I didn’t experience as many frustrating occurrences, but still…

Read below about my afternoon, including my visit to the not-entirely frustrating Museum of Hangovers and the rest of my afternoon.

Choosing the Museum of Hangovers

When I arrived in Zagreb, I hadn’t even heard about the Museum of Hangovers. But when I griped in my post about my arrival here, one of my intrepid readers Googled things to do in Zagreb. One was the Museum of Broken Relationships I visited this morning. The other was the Museum of Hangovers. She sent me that information in a reply to the earlier post.

Seeing that, I did my own research, as the moronic anti-vaxxers like saying on social media. (I didn’t let the fact that moronic anti-vaxxers say it deter me from doing research, although it did give me pause.)

I found the museum’s website. It provides scant information, but I confirmed its opening hours and entry fee.

I also found some visitor reviews of it. It got generally good, but not stellar reviews. Then again, who knows about the tastes and integrity of random people on the internet?

I was skeptical about the museum, but I’m skeptical about most things. For instance, before going to the Museum of Broken Relationships this morning I was skeptical about it, but that turned out well. So I figured, what the heck?

Besides, I couldn’t find anything else I wanted to do this afternoon. I expounded at length this morning on the reasons for that. But boiling them down to the briefest synopsis I can come up with here, the reasons include it’s Sunday, it’s raining, and. especially, many of the major sights here are still closed for restoration after the big quake of 2020.

So, off to the Museum of Hangovers I went.

Visiting the Museum of Hangovers

The bicycle pedal inspiration for the Museum of Hangovers
The bicycle pedal inspiration for the Museum of Hangovers

The museum is in a grungy building in an uninteresting part of town outside the lower old town. The museum is one level above the ground floor, up a dimly lit set of stairs. This concerned me. I thought, “This museum probably attracts a lot of people who drank recently or who had entered with hangovers. Making them walk up a dimly lit set of stairs doesn’t seem like the best choice to me.”

Apparently, the inspiration for the museum is, a guy heard a story from a friend about the friend waking up after a night of drinking to find a bicycle pedal in his pocket and he had no idea how it got there.

The first dude had a number of other funny, weird or otherwise questionably notable stories involving him, other friends, and strangers getting drunk and the consequences thereof. I guess the dude thought, “Wouldn’t it be rad to share these stories with the world in a museum?” Hence, the Museum of Hangovers.

Upon paying my admission fee, the ticket seller handed me a small flashlight and said, “This is for our dark room.” She offered no other explanation. I entered the museum.

The bicycle pedal story, along with the allegedly actual bicycle pedal is the first exhibit in the museum.

Most of the rest of the museum consists of other stories like the bicycle pedal one. Person gets drunk, things happen because of that drunkenness. Those things included:

  • More stuff inexplicably turning up in the hungover person’s possession like the bicycle pedal.
  • Blanking out.
  • Vomitting.
  • Things being stolen under the influence of alcohol, like road signs and, in one case, a traffic light.
  • Mishaps like handcuffing someone for a lark but losing the key, and getting the police involved.
  • Unplanned tattoos.
  • Accidents that resulted in injuries, including broken bones.
  • And other stuff I forget.
An unplanned tattoo
An unplanned tattoo

Just to be clear, they didn’t all happen to one person in a single incident. The stories usually told of just one outcome per incident.

Some of the stories have related artifacts mounted beside them, like the above-mentioned bicycle pedal, some of the stolen signs, a picture of a tattoo received, pictures of injuries, and more. (When I say “and more,” it usually translates to “I forget what.”

The museum also displays some textual signs describing alcohol and its effects. In one room a black curtain hangs along a bit of one wall. Pulling back the curtain reveals an alcove with a large-font sign listing some of the negative health effects of alcohol.

A map of the world hangs on one wall. Beside a number of countries, the map provides the dominant hangover home remedy for that country. Apparently, Canadians believe that poutine soaks up alcohol from the body and is, therefore, a hangover cure. I’ve lived in Canada my entire life and I never heard that. Maybe that’s only because I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I’ve been seriously hung over and still have fingers to spare. Then again, maybe I was too hungover to remember some of them.

On another wall hangs a sign with text about and illustrations of the various alcohol gods in ancient civilizations.

On yet another wall there’s a sign with text and illustrations showing ways to smuggle alcohol.

How to smuggle alcohol
How to smuggle alcohol

The museum also has a driving simulator. There is only one and I couldn’t be bothered to wait for the person using it to finish. Some other interactive displays also had something to do with drunkenness, but I didn’t try them either.

Then there is the dark room. I entered by pushing aside a thick, black curtain. Not surprisingly, it was dark inside. I saw some signs on the otherwise black walls, but the light level prevented me from reading them.

Then I remembered I had a small flashlight in my hand. I turned it on and pointed it at one of the sign. It barely illuminated the sign. Certainly not enough for me to read it.

I looked at the light at the end of the flashlight. It barely projected a dim orange light. I figured it was broken. Before I had a chance to go back to the front, I accidentally pointed it elsewhere at the wall. A bright orange illustration that looked like an ancient cave drawing appeared on the wall. Scanning the rest of both of the two opposing black walls with the flashlight showed some more.

But I still couldn’t read the signs, so I don’t know the purpose of the drawings.

On my way out of the museum, the ticket seller asked me if I wanted a free shot of schnapps. Because of course a museum about hangovers would offer you a free shot of alcohol. It was a small, but powerful shot.

I left the museum and successfully navigated my way down the dimly lit stairs.

My verdict: The museum is kind of amateurish. It definitely isn’t my favourite museum of all time, by any stretch of the imagination. But I didn’t hate it.

Wandering Around

A rain-soaked old town street
A rain-soaked old town street

When I left the museum it still wasn’t particularly late in the afternoon. Despite the rain, I decided to walk around the upper and lower old towns a bit.

I can report it is still charming even in the rain. Plus, the rain-slicked streets and the turned on lights that aren’t normally turned on during the day gave it an almost sadly romantic feel.

Oh, lights turned on. That reminds me of a story that I meant to tell but forgot to tell when talking about the guided walking tour I took the other day. The upper old town has a number of gas lamps on its streets. If memory serves, the guide, Marko, said they number two-hundred some odd.

According to Marko, city employees walk around and manually light them every dusk and walk around and manually douse them every dawn. It apparently takes a while for them to complete the task.

Marco Polo
Marco Polo

Oh, and there’s another story I could have told then or when I walked around on my own.

Simple statues of famous people sitting on a chair, bench, or stool sit beside a number of bars in town. I saw one today, but Marko also pointed out one, and I’ve seen others on my own. They are part of a city art program called “Sit & Meet.”

A sign sits on a table beside each statue. The sign tells who the person is and provides a QR code. Scanning the QR brings up a webpage with a paragraph or so on that person. I saw a Marco Polo statue today. I scanned the QR code. Here’s the page.

Did I mention it was raining? As charming as it was, I didn’t spend long wandering around in the rain.

The forecast says tomorrow will be sunny again, but a little on the cool side. I can deal with a little on the cool side.

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