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One simply must love a city with not one but two Vodka Museums. Of course, with sunset at 3:30 PM, two weeks before solstice, “When under Saxon Rule, Eat, Drink, and Drool” is not such a bad idea. Apparently, Polish Royalty took inebriation to breathtaking lengths. Vodka was used for just about everything, including cures for whatever ailments you may have. If you read the recipe in the photo, you’ll quickly conclude that the mere thought of swallowing it cured every child avoiding school or chores of all imaginary illnesses.

My one open day, the weather was an icy drizzle. Since I had been to Warsaw before, I was glad not to feel obliged to tramp around Old Town in the rain. Nor do I think I would have enjoyed the six-hour round trip to Krakow, only to spend my time there in the freezing rain. Oh, dear, I must be getting old. Twenty years a ago, I would have gone.

Having already earned my Polish Vodka Connoisseur Certificate Friday night, the drizzly Saturday was perfect for seeing the Neon Museum and the Printing Museum. Both were small and interesting, not first tier museums but rather good, low key places to spend time. The Neon Museum is dedicated to preserving that snapshot of history characterized by optimistic signs of progress. The Printing Museum, was well worth the 30-cent donation, if only for the intricate printing plates.

The upside of sunset at 3:30 is that old folks like me are awake to see the Christmas lights. Christmas here is a kinder, gentler affair, more like a gentle snow fall than the US blizzard. The white and gold lights only extend a few blocks from the square, at least on this side of the Vistula away from tourist central. The mermaid of Warsaw sends her regards and invites you to share yours.

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