The Six Best Places to Visit After a Breakup
The holidays are a notorious culprit when it comes to breakups. Maybe it’s the added stress of spending so much time with family, the way the holidays force a kind of intimacy on couples who might not be ready for it, or just the definitive marker of the end of the year. Either way, it’s the broken hearted who deserve a trip, preferably one where you can commune with like-minded souls. Sure, Horace claimed that “the sky, not the state of mind changes, when people flee across the sea,” but Horace is dead. You’re alive. Heartbroken and depressed, but alive. At the very least, fleeing across the sea to one of these destinations will mean weeping someplace more interesting than your own apartment, and discovering that gelato is a more delicious alternative to Ben & Jerry’s.
Jennifer Wright is the author of It Ended Badly: Thirteen of the Worst Break-Ups In History, which will put even your worst heartbreak in perspective.
Winchester Castle, Hampshire, England
Eleanor of Aquitaine was way ahead of her time, especially considering her time was the 12th century. In 1173, she convinced three of her sons to revolt against their philandering father King Henry II. They were unsuccessful, and Eleanor spent the next fifteen years imprisoned at this castle. She outlived Henry, though, and was liberated. When her son Richard the Lionheart went away on crusades, she ruled England in his place. Today, the castle’s recreation of a medieval garden is named after her. Considering that Henry’s mistress was known as “the rose of the world,” the grounds are hopefully filled it with a different kind of flower. It’s a reminder to hang in there—you’ll win out in the end.
The Museum of Broken Relationships, Zagreb, Croatia
The worst thing about a break-up can be living among the ruins of the relationship. What are you supposed to do with her running socks? His not particularly beloved books? Or all the other stuff that doesn’t seem worth returning, but that you can’t quite bring yourself to throw out? You are going to donate it to the Museum of Broken relationships. The museum in Zagreb, Croatia is filled with “exhibits” sent in from people all over the world. They range from Teddy Bears holding “I love you” balloons to wedding dresses. Each item is accompanied by the former owner’s description of the object—so for instance, the Teddy Bear with the “I love you” balloon is accompanied by a descriptor that proclaims, ‘“I love you” – WHAT A LIE! LIES, DAMN LIES!’
Angelo Love Hotel, Osaka Japan
Maybe the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else. The Angelo Love hotel, which was featured in the documentary Love Hotel is one of 30,000 Japanese Love Hotels that cater to visitors’ most outlandish fantasies. In this case, that means themed rooms ranging from a boxing room to an animal room. There’s also sexy underwear that can be delivered to your room in pneumatic tubes. Rika, a dominatrix who works there, mentioned in the documentary that visitors “All have a common sense of loneliness and a dissatisfaction with their daily lives.” You’ll fit right in.
The Icehotel, Jukkasjärvi, Sweden
After the death of her husband in 1710, Anna Ivanovna wrote hundreds of letters to her family asking to remarry. They refused. When she became the Empress of Russia in 1730, she began making sport of marriage. At one point she forced two of her courtiers to marry and spend their wedding night in a palace she constructed of ice. Remarkably, they did not die! At least not that night. You can be a survivor just like them when you stay at The Icehotel. As you sleep on one of their bedframes made of ice (they come with a mattress and fur blankets) you, like that couple, can moan, “why must my romantic fate be dictated by forces beyond my control?” The fact that those evil forces are “your ex’s desire to run off with a 22 year old personal trainer” and not “a mad Russian Empress” is a minor point.
Casa di Giulietta (Juliet’s House), Verona, Italy
This house dates back to the 13th century and was originally owned by the Dell Cappello family, whose name sounds kind of like “Capulet.” Accordingly, it’s come to be known as Juliet’s House, as in the Juliet from “Romeo and Juliet.” In the garden, people rub the breast of a statue of the famously unlucky in love teen for better luck in their own romantic endeavors. There’s also a wall where visitors stick notes of love and longing. Just try not to be put off by the couples visiting here to read sonnets to each other, and don’t let them in on any spoilers about how the play ends.
The Matchmaking Festival, Lisdoonvarna, Ireland
Eventually, you’re going to be ready to fall in love again. Why not do so with someone with a sexy Irish accent? The Matchmaking Festival has been happening in this small Irish town for 150 years. It attracts around 40,000 people. Today, third generation matchmaker Willie Daly helps set up couples from around the world who flock to the festival. Willie claims, “Will you marry me?” is the first question men ask women he introduces them to, “and they mean it, too!” He carries with him a 150-year-old book, and claims that if you touch it, you’ll be married in 6 months. Throughout the day, there’s dancing, drinking and mingling at locales like The Matchmaker Bar.