It was about half past ten so we sat at a pavement café and had a Staropramen, which is a pleasant Czech beer and although it was early I don’t think anyone in Prague would have found this early drinking unusual because according to the Economist, in a poll in 2006, the people of the Czech republic are the biggest alcohol consuming nation in the World.
After a second glass of the excellent beer we wandered over to take up a good position to see the famous astronomical clock that stands in the centre of the square strike eleven. It really was very impressive to look at but not nearly so good that it justified the city authorities blinding its creator after it was completed just so that he couldn’t make another one elsewhere.
“So what do you think of it” he probably asked, “It’s very good, yes, we like it,” they said “How much will you pay me?” “Just stand still while we poke your eyes out with this stick, now shove off” “Ouch! What about my money?” “Shove off!”
There’s gratitude for you! Actually, I have heard this same story about Ivan the Terrible and St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow and I didn’t believe that one either!
Anyway, bang on time, the mechanism creaked into action and the little statues started to do a little jig, I especially liked the skeletal figure of death that to be absolutely certain of the time diligently inspected an hourglass and then rang a tiny bell to get proceedings started.
First came the promised highlight of the event when a small window opened and the twelve Apostles passed by in procession each one in turn gazing out over the square. They had to be quick though because this wasn’t so much a procession as a hundred-metre dash and they sprinted past as though the landlord at the rugby club had just called last orders at the bar.
Then a cock crowed and the clock chimed out the hour and that was it. I thought the whole horological experience was over rather disappointingly quickly.