Posts Tagged ‘frogs’

A Croatian Highlight

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

Before we went to Croatia, Gill sent me a link for a must-see tourist attraction in Split’s city centre – Froggyland. A museum/world wonder, Froggyland comprises a collection of over 500 frogs on which a man named Ferenc Mere performed taxidermy and then positioned in scenes representing human activities. As stated on the Froggyland website:

This collection is truly a unique and exceptional example of the art of taxidermy which, together with its technical value, has the artistic value as well, and which intrigues and attracts people and leaves no one indifferent.

I can wholeheartedly agree that I wasn’t left indifferent when Gill was kind, thoughtful and wonderful enough to take me to Froggyland on my birthday. I was overwhelmed.

Welcome to Froggyland.

Welcome to Froggyland.

The whole Froggyland experience is very special – as we arrived we were greeted by a good-looking blonde girl who welcomed us inside and walked us up a flight of carpeted stairs. Half way up, we were invited to touch the lucky frog, whose painted nose was wearing away from eager tourists’ hands.

He sure looks lucky.

He sure looks lucky.

At the top of the stair was a doorway surrounded by a band of fairy lights and thick, red velvet curtains. It looked like the entrance to either a 1970s bingo hall or a brothel. We were then asked to pay the entrance fee, which Gill generously covered, and then instructed to look closely at each of the 21 display cases as the best parts were in the details. How right she was.

Where exactly are we going?

Where exactly are we going?

Who knew stuffed frogs could be so interesting? I have always been a lover of frogs and it was so nice to see them having so much fun in such a wide variety of situations. They were drinking at the pub, playing tennis, undertaking household chores, and even performing in a circus – think of a human activity and there was a frog doing it. The museum describes the scenes as representations of our ancestors, so from these frogs I learnt that in most daily activities there was always someone smoking a pipe and someone was drunk.

Amazing circus skills.

Amazing circus skills.

Two issues that Ferenc would have had to tackle when creating these scenes were the fact that frogs do not have necks and therefore, when standing on their back legs, they tend to stare at the sky. This makes for a very amusing game of tennis. Secondly, a frog’s gender is difficult to determine as boy frogs and girl frogs all look the same and, in my mind, all appear to be male. There were a few scenes where one would jump to the conclusion that the person performing the task should be a woman (e.g. sewing, knitting and any other womanly chore from the 1900s), however the frog didn’t necessarily appear to look like a lady. I would perhaps suggest to Ferenc that more effort into representing the gender of the female frogs (perhaps a skirt or a feminine hat) would add to the displays.

Frogs playing tennis.

Frogs playing tennis.

It was pleasing to see that Gill and I hadn’t been the only visitors to Froggyland that day and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Split. Not only is the wood panelled, green carpeted, bingo room airconditioned, the displays are highly entertaining and educational. You will learn a lot from our amphibian friends.

Sustainable Living

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

For Christmas, Tom’s dad gave us a two night stay in sustainable, eco-friendly accommodation that he had won at a sustainability fair a few months prior. With January being our last month in Perth, we  had to rush to fit it in before our departure and managed to sneak it in last weekend. One of the best yet weirdest parts about this accommodation is that it is located in South Fremantle so it was hardly a holiday far away from home.

Named the Painted Fish, it comprises three different accommodation types – two of which we sampled. The first night we stayed in a converted train carriage which had an outdoor bathroom. Yes, the toilet was outside which was fine apart from night time visits that required a torch and a thorough check for rats/spiders/cockroaches/frogs/etc. The outdoor bathroom was also located at the end of the entry pathway, so anyone who accidentally took the wrong way while looking for one of the other rooms would walk straight into our bathroom. Not really my cup of tea but as they say, new experiences are good for you and what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.

Outdoor toilet

I guess it was somewhat private, but your legs stuck out beyond the walls when you sat down.

The second night we were in the studio which catered more for my toffee-nosed needs. a beautiful glass cottage, the studio considered of a kitchen and lounge on the lower level, bedroom on a mezzanine and an outdoor patio on the top level. It was very relaxing to sit upstairs and eat some cheese while looking out towards South Beach. We ventured back inside at night time as the one or two rats that had been building a nest in the wall cavity in the carriage the night before, also liked running up and down the tree next to the patio. I think they may have wanted to eat our cheese.

Studio

The studio lounge and kitchen area

The nature-friendly vibe of the place certainly brought out the wildlife with rats and insects living happily amongst the buildings. My personal favourite (and this isn’t sarcasm) were the frogs that were living in the large garden ponds. It was amazing! Growing up, I had motorbike frogs in my garden who would spend all summer moaning and calling to one another at night. The past few years the frogs have disappeared so I was overwhelmed with excitement as I arrived at the Painted Fish to hear the sweet sounds of motorbike engines. Tom and I went frog spotting on the second night and stood on the rocks in the middle of the pond, surrounded by groaning frogs. It was wonderful.

Sunday morning we strolled down to South Beach for a swim and Friday night we went to Missy Moo’s on South Terrace for dinner. The accommodation is definitely worth considering for visiting family and friends who want somewhere relaxing to stay. Make sure they like nature, frogs and outdoor toilets first (although the studio’s toilet was indoors, but it did have big french doors that opened straight into the garden for that “outdoor toileting feel”.)

Studio garden

Ponds! Frogs! HOORAY!