Old Meets New in Frankfurt - CrawCrafts Beasties

Fine Art Fun in Frankfurt!

OK, so the last couple of posts here on the BeastieBlog have been a little on the wild side…
Wild Frankfurt - CrawCrafts Beasties, Beastie HQ… But there’s more to Frankfurt than its zoo, y’know! Today, we’re going to take a trip into the city centre in search of some culture.

Even walking through the streets of Frankfurt was an interesting experience – everywhere we turned, it seemed that old-fashioned buildings were rubbing shoulders with the towering glass skyscrapers that you’d expect to see in one of Europe’s main financial centres.
Old Meets New in Frankfurt - CrawCrafts BeastiesThat said, there’s a good chance that many of these classical-looking buildings aren’t much older than their shiny modern neighbours. Like many cities in the industrial Rhineland region, Frankfurt was heavily bombed in the Second World War, and its renowned medieval town centre was hit especially hard.

This blend is clearer as you approach the river Main…
Explorer Beastie Blocking the View of the Main - CrawCrafts Beasties…Well, it would be if a certain Beastie wasn’t hogging centre stage! The Main cuts the city neatly in half, and since we needed to be on the other side, we made a beeline for that bridge up ahead.

Explorer Beastie on Eiserne Steg, Frankfurt - CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd we chose our crossing point well! This is the Eiserner Steg (Iron Bridge), a pedestrian bridge which is a great place to stop and admire the cityscape…
Love Locks on Eiserner Steg, Frankfurt - CrawCrafts Beasties… Or, if you’re Explorer Beastie, to hang out among the love locks.

On the other side, we wandered down the riverbank for a while – mostly because I am atrocious at navigation and took a wrong turn at the end of the bridge. I’m glad I did though, because otherwise we would have missed this place!
Portikus, Frankfurt, From the Riverbank - CrawCrafts BeastiesIt looks like a magical castle, lost in a leafy forest… But this unusual building actually houses a contemporary art gallery called Portikus. Portikus has had a couple of homes around Frankfurt since it was founded in 1987, the first of them being the portico of the old public library building, which is where the name comes from. The gallery finally moved into its first purpose-built home in this tower on an island in the Main in 2006.

We’ll have to save our visit for another day though, because we already had a plan! Onwards!

And here we are. Look, someone’s even opening the door for us.
Explorer Beastie at Staedel, Frankfurt - CrawCrafts BeastiesThis is the Städel Museum, home to a vast art collection that includes everything from old masters to contemporary artists from Germany and further afield.

We thought we’d start at the beginning, with the Old Masters on the top floor. That meant tackling some stairs!
Climbing up to the Old Masters - CrawCrafts BeastiesPhew! Poor Explorer Beastie needed a bit of a rest after that lot… Although he pretended he was just examining this wall of portraits.
Old Masters at the Staedel Museum, Frankfurt - CrawCrafts BeastiesThe Old Masters gallery is brimming over with incredible paintings, some of them dating back to the late Middle Ages! Since I know some of you will be reading this over lunchtime, I’ll spare you the gory crucifixion and martyrdom images that seemed to so inspire artists at that time, and share this picture of Explorer Beastie examining “The Geographer” by Vermeer instead.
Explorer Beastie Meets Vermeer - CrawCrafts Beasties

And speaking of lunch… As we made our way onwards into the modern era, we stumbled upon a Renoir!
Renoir at the Staedel Museum - CrawCrafts BeastiesThat’s it on the left – and how appropriate that it’s called “La Fin du Déjeuner” (After the Luncheon)! But if you’re still hungry, perhaps I can tempt you with some Mondspargel (Moon Asparagus)…
Mondspargel by Max Ernst - CrawCrafts Beasties
We also found a scene that looked mighty familiar in this Max Beckmann painting…
A Familiar View - CrawCrafts BeastiesHey, didn’t we just cross that bridge earlier? I suppose we were lucky that the river below wasn’t full of ice, as it is in the painting. Brrrr!

This brought us nearly to the present day. So after a quick photo opportunity at John Armleder’s Mirror Mosaic wallpiece…
Mirror Wall at Staedel, Frankfurt - CrawCrafts Beasties… We headed underground to check out the Städel’s contemporary collection.

Out of all the pieces on display, Explorer Beastie particularly wanted to have his photo taken with this Rosemarie Trockel piece – can you figure out why?
Explorer Beastie Appreciates Art - CrawCrafts BeastiesNo, its nothing to do with the reference to the 90s… Although that was always going to catch my eye! Here, look a little closer…
Closeup - Who Will Be In In '99, Rosemarie Trockel - CrawCrafts BeastiesIt’s knitted! Explorer Beastie found this particularly inspiring – he says he never realised art was in the very fabric of his being. Now he’s planning his first solo show.

So, since he had work to do, there was just time for one last shot in this awesome space…
Explorer Beastie in the Contemporary Art Floor at Staedel - CrawCrafts Beasties… Before we headed back upstairs to ground level!

And believe me, we only scratched the surface of this incredible museum… So if you ever find yourself in Frankfurt, make sure it goes at the top of your to-see list!

We’ll be back on Friday with the last of our Germany photos, so be sure to join us for a monster-filled trip finale. See you then!

Freaky Friday in Frankfurt!

Happy Friday, everyone! And since the weekend is very nearly here, I thought you might be tantalised by a post about the weirder things we encountered on our recent visit to Frankfurt Zoo! Buuuuut if you want to start out slow, don’t worry – you can catch up with the cute fuzzies from Tuesday’s post here.

So, we left Explorer Beastie and his new friend Rose the Pink Unicorn here…
Submarine Cruise at Frankfurt Zoo! CrawCrafts BeastiesWhere to next? Let’s see what we can find under the waves… Dive dive dive!

Hey look – WE FOUND NEMO!
Finding Nemo - Frankfurt Zoo - CrawCrafts BeastiesFrankfurt Zoo has a really great aquarium and reptile house… Alas, the light levels were too low for my long-suffering camera! If you’re in desperate need of some fishy pics, our recent snaps from Düsseldorf Aquazoo should help to tide you over.

Time to resurface! And back on dry land, a feathered friend hinted at what we should go to look at next.
A Peacock Points the Way - CrawCrafts Beasties, Beastie HQThere are heaps of exotic birds living here – some of them in free-flight aviaries you can actually walk through! Here are a few of our favourite sightings… An elegant red-crowned crane, a shy cassowary and a brightly-coloured bee-eater!
Birds at Frankfurt Zoo - CrawCrafts Beasties, Beastie HQBut hey, I promised you weirdness! And although these boat-billed herons definitely look like they’re plotting something sinister…
Boat Billed Herons at Frankfurt Zoo - CrawCrafts Beasties…They’re no match for the mighty marabou stork!
Marabou Stork at Frankfurt Zoo - CrawCrafts Beasties

These massive, cadaverous-looking birds might not be winning any beauty contests, but they’ve a long association with the world of high fashion. You see, for many years, their delicate fluffy down (called “marabou”) was coveted as a trimming for the most glamorous evening wear and saucy lingerie! Not only is it soft and fuzzy, it’s naturally white and takes dye really well, too.

Of course, the downside of this for the marabou stork was that it almost literally became a fashion victim. Fortunately, a shift towards synthetic marabou, or using similar feathers harvested from domesticated turkeys, has helped them to bounce back. Hurrah!

Moving on from the aviaries, we met some more unusual creatures – an entire family of baboons, who had come inside to shelter from a passing rainstorm.
Baboons at Frankfurt Zoo - CrawCrafts BeastiesIt was the first time either of us had seen a hamadryas baboon, and Explorer Beastie thought they were really strange. Mind you, from the look the big male on the left is shooting at us, I reckon he thinks the same about us!

And while these guys were all safely behind glass (thank goodness! You should have seen the size of their teeth), in another section of the primate house, we encountered a daring escape artist!
Escapee Lemur! CrawCrafts Beasties“You ain’t seen me, right?”

This lemur had somehow found him/herself outside the enclosures where the other lemurs were nonchalantly going about their day. Since there were staff about, we figured this separation was intentional… But that didn’t stop us being really surprised at first!

Oh, and then Explorer Beastie got distracted by the “most dangerous animal” exhibit, which he completely misunderstood and used as a photo op.
The Most Dangerous Animal in the World - CrawCrafts Beasties

Then again, the idea of being a dangerous animal didn’t seem to faze him that much. He wanted one of these signs for himself.
Beware of the Beastie! CrawCrafts BeastiesRight, time for you to mellow out a bit! Let’s go and visit the gorillas.
Gorillas at Frankfurt Zoo - CrawCrafts BeastiesOne of them even came to hang out with us for their lunch break!
Lunch with a Gorilla - CrawCrafts BeastiesBut by the time we left the great apes, those scattered rain showers had become a steady downpour. We took shelter in the nocturnal house… Yes, definitely shelter! We totally weren’t hiding from this guy.
Gaaaaaah! Giant Bat! CrawCrafts BeastiesNope, not terrifying in the slightest.

But even the giant screaming bat couldn’t frighten the rain away. In fact, it got even heavier! So we decided to head for home. For some of the zoo’s inhabitants though, it seemed to be a refreshing end to a long hot day at work!
Sea Lion Enjoying the Rain at Frankfurt Zoo - CrawCrafts BeastiesThanks for joining us on our whirlwind tour of the Zoo! And if you’ve any plans to hang out with furred or feathered friends over the weekend, be sure to let us know in the comments!

We’ll be back on Tuesday with more from Frankfurt, so don’t forget to join us then… Have a super weekend!

It’s a Jungle in Here!

Hey there everybody! It may be another bright and sunny Tuesday in Dublin, but here in Beastie Towers we’re still dreaming of our recent adventures in Germany
Explorer Beastie in Germany - CrawCrafts Beasties, Beastie HQ… And today’s post finds us moving on to Frankfurt, where we had urgent business – visiting Frankfurt Zoo with friends!

At around this time, Frankfurt Zoo was experiencing a bit of a baby boom. The main attraction was the triplet lion cubs, who had arrived in mid-April, but it turned out this momma bear had had some good news of her own recently too!
Mummy Bear at Frankfurt Zoo - CrawCrafts BeastiesShe was a lot braver than the cubs though – we were only just able to see them peeking their noses out from the doorway in the background!

And while the lion cubs had been formally introduced to their adoring public at the end of May, this new family wasn’t being subjected to the spotlight all day every day. But thanks to the wonders of technology, we were still able to see all the latest goings-on inside the lions’ den!Inside the Lions' Den - CrawCrafts Beasties Hey, looks like it’s lunchtime!

A little further along, we were able to catch up with some less elusive creatures. Looks like Explorer Beastie is planning a new career as a goatherd!
The Woolly Goatherd - CrawCrafts BeastiesNext up – alpacas! They appeared to have had a haircut recently… What a shame I missed THAT! I would gladly have taken the trimmings off the Zoo’s hands for a reasonable fee.Alpacas at Frankfurt Zoo - CrawCrafts BeastiesThen, at the zebra enclosure, Explorer Beastie made a friend!
Rose the Unicorn, and some Zebras - CrawCrafts BeastiesSeems pink amigurumi unicorns enjoy a day at the zoo too!

And there were more pink creatures to see, like this vaguely rose-tinted pelican…
A Pinkish Pelican - CrawCrafts Beasties… And of course, FLAMINGOS!
Flamingos at Frankfurt Zoo - CrawCrafts BeastiesBut it soon felt like we were back on the African plains… On our wanderings, we encountered a rhino, a klipspringer and a whole herd of dama gazelles!
African Wildlife at Frankfurt Zoo - CrawCrafts BeastiesExplorer Beastie even got to hang out with the giraffes… Sort of.
Giraffes at Frankfurt Zoo - CrawCrafts BeastiesThen, because it was a really HOT day, we were happy to take the zoo up on an opportunity to cool off underwater! Hmm, is anybody home?
Anybody Home? CrawCrafts Beasties, Beastie HQLuckily, there was a Beastie buddy on hand to make sure Explorer Beastie didn’t miss anything!
Seeing the Seals at Frankfurt Zoo - CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd to top it all off, he got to take ride in a submarine with his new friend Rose!
Submarine Cruise at Frankfurt Zoo! CrawCrafts BeastiesWhere will their undersea craft wash up? You’ll have to join us on Friday to find out…

Also, thanks to Isabel and Rose for all their help with the photos for this post! You’re the best!