|Look, it's Prague ! Or maybe it's Afghanistan...|
Still, the trip was not without merit. At 9am on a Sunday, the normally visible-from-space tourist route is totally empty. And finally I got to see the Astronomical Clock do its hourly thing. Then I wandered up to Prague Castle, where the cloud was low enough to make a difference.
Prague, it must be said, does not do everything right. One of the biggest mistakes I've spotted is the depiction of St George's battle with the dragon. This is a reoccurring motif around the Castle, and while it's invariably very well carved, there's something a bit... off about the proportions.
|On his royal face there is no note how dreadfully small a dragon his horse |
has almost stepped on, Shakespeare would probably say.
|That's a swamp dragon if ever I saw one. Even if it could breathe|
fire it would be about as dangerous as a malfunctioning toaster.
Another explanation is that St George was actually one hundred and fifty feet tall, which would then make the dragon a reasonably threatening size to ordinary villagers. One suspects that this little nugget would probably have been mentioned more prominently in the story. All in all, I was more impressed with the "George and Dragon" British pub, because it has cider.
Later I wandered back to Vysherad, where, as at Prague Castle, the cloud was low enough to make a difference. Gone were the sweeping views of the river, replaced by a cathedral and graveyard that were clearly designed by a prophet with a singularly unique vision. One that told him that, a thousand years hence, a show called Dr Who would feature relentlessly frightening stone statues called the weeping angels. Vysherad, in one very specific sense, is beyond perfection - it is the Platonic ideal of a weeping angels episode location.
Not all of the graveyard features exquisite Gothic statues and tombstones, however. When I saw this mosaic of a very nonchalant Jesus, one caption instantly sprang to mind :
Finally there were these statues. I can only assume the artist wanted to show what the weeping angels get up to in their off-hours. Apparently they thought this involved taking Jesus to a dance club, for some reason.