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On the flight from San Francisco to Zurich, we had the best seats in Economy class. Yes, it's an auspicious beginning to any trip when you're just assigned the emergency exit row, and it's one of those rows with the ten foot space before the next row of seats. Plenty of room to stretch out - I even slept for six solid hours on the flight over - that's a first.

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Once we'd checked into the hotel, I asked Eugenish, Ania, and Radek if they could stay for drinks. We went to this shiny new ultra-modern pub across the street, and we enjoyed a couple of rounds of Polish Zubrovka vodka, with a beer chaser. Some of us just had tea. What's a real drag is that this is the only picture I have of Radek and Ania - and Ania isn't looking at the camera. The price of candid photography.

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So on the way to our hotel, I saw this huge brightly lit building that dominated the skyline of Warsaw. I asked Ania and Radek, "What's that building?" It turns out, it was built by Stalin's command back in the bad old days, and evidently it's much loathed. Actually, I think it looks like of cool - gothic, like. There's five or six of 'em in Moscow, apparently.

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Our hotel was located a couple of kilometers from the old city center. The old city center isn't actually all that old. The Nazis dynamited the entire place on their way out of town, chased away by the Soviet army. Old town is today a brick-by-brick reconstruction. It's a pretty impressive accomplishment.

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