Tag Archives: Prague


On Love (and dogs)

Milan Kundera’s Unbearable Lightness of Being is by far the saddest human-dog love story I have read.

From this jumble of ideas came a sacrilegious thought that Tereza could not shake off: the love that tied her to Karenin was better than the love between her and Tomas. Better, not bigger. Tereza did not wish to fault either Tomas or herself; she did not wish to claim that they could love each other more. Her feeling was rather that, given the nature of the human couple, the love of man and woman is a priori inferior to that which can exist (at least in the best instances) in the love between man and dog, that oddity of human history probably unplanned by the Creator.

It is a completely selfless love: Tereza did not want anything of Karenin; she did not ever ask him to love her back. Nor had she ever asked herself the questions that plague human couples: Does he love me? Does he love anyone more than me? Does he love me more than I love him? Perhaps all the questions we ask of love, to measure, test, probe, and save it, have the additional effect of cutting it short. Perhaps the reason we are unable to love is that we yearn to be loved, that is, we demand something (love) from our partner instead of delivering ourselves up to him demand-free and asking for nothing but his company.

And something else: Tereza accepted Karenin for what he was; she did not try to make him over in her image; she agreed from the outset with his dog’s life, did not wish to deprive him of it, did not envy him his secret intrigues. The reason she trained him was not to transform him (as a husband tries to reform his wife and a wife her husband), but to provide him with the elementary language that enabled them to communicate and live together.

Then too: No one forced her to love Karenin; love for dogs is voluntary.

Gallery of Czech dogs I have met


Day 7: Veltrusy, Czech Republic to Prague, Czech Republic

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Start: Veltrusy, Czech Republic
End: Prague, Czech Republic
Distance: 37.8km
Elevation Gain: 1200ft
Elevation Loss: 987ft
Time: 4h2m
Reading Material: The Unbearable Lightness of Being – Milan Kundera
Audio Material: none

Some reports on the internet claimed that from Berlin to Prague I would find the people becoming less friendly. This is entirely false. On this last, short day into Prague, I met many folks who wanted to stop and chat. I road alongside a security officer from Hotel Prague for several kms who was out on a day ride along the river (he works nights). We took photos (that’s why you get the first shot of me in this post) before heading off. And, in Letna Park high above Old Town Prague, one of the maintenance workers stopped to compliment the bike and told the story of his trip from Denmark to Berlin.

I had my first extended climb (as you’ll see in the elevation plot), gaining ~600ft in 4km and was rewarded with a windy descent back to the river. And, coming down from Letna Park into Prague was the steepest descent yet (200ft in 200m) straight into massive traffic. I had to ride the brakes hard.

Bicycling in the city itself is another matter. No bike lanes and recessed tram rails on every road make it very difficult to ride (you do not want to get a wheel stuck between a tram rail with a fully-loaded bike). I tried to take the most direct route to my hotel but had to dodge tourists on cobblestone near the famous Charles Bridge.

Luckily, when I arrived at the hotel Kristina had a beer waiting. She is by far the most friendly hotel proprietor I have ever met and completely deserves her astronomical TripAdvisor rating. After a shower and a detailed map overview from Kristina, I was ready to tackle Prague.