Monthly Archives: September 2014

Rhine Getaway Cruise

2Burg_Katz_Above_St._Goarshausen_and_the_Rhine_River_Germany - Copy - CopyRhine Getaway Cruise

Visit all the highlights of the legendary Rhine in just 8 days. In Germany, see the many charming castles commanding the riverbanks as you sail by, tour both Marksburg Castle and the ruins of Heidelberg Castle. Admire Cologne, the jewel of the Rhine, with its awe-inspiring Dom, and experience the lush landscape of the Black Forest region. Also, explore Holland’s famous windmills and waterworks, encounter multicultural Strasbourg in France, and take part in the inviting nightlife in Rüdesheim’sDrosselgasse. On this itinerary you see a lot without spending a lot of time.  I have a guest taking this cruise soon and I wanted my readers to see where she is going.  This has a great itinerary and I know you will enjoy it as much as I do.

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DAY 1 | AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS

Arrive in Amsterdam, then transfer to your ship. After boarding, the afternoon is yours to relax or explore the city on your own. If your arrival schedule permits, you may wish to visit the Anne Frank House. (D)  Exploring is one of my favorite things to do in a foreign country.

Kinderdijk, Netherlands

DAY 2 | KINDERDIJK, NETHERLANDS

This morning you sail to Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for a tour of this ingenious network of windmills and other flood management devices. You learn why the windmills were built and see how they work, plus you enter a working windmill for a tour of its mechanisms and living quarters. Return aboard for lunch and an enjoyable afternoon of Dutch diversions: sample handcrafted Dutch cheeses and jenever, a distilled juniper liquor, and try your hand at sjoelen (Dutch table shuffleboard). Cruise through the night. (B, L, D)

The Dom Cathedral, Cologne, Germany

DAY 3 | COLOGNE, GERMANY

Continue along the Rhine this morning; arrive in Cologne and disembark for a walking tour. Stroll through Old Town past St. Martin’s Church, and spend some time inside Cologne’s Dom, a remarkable Gothic cathedral whose construction began in 1248 and was only completed in 1880. Explore the dockside taverns, cafés and shops on your own. As always, your Program Director can help you plan your free time. Dinner is served aboard and remain docked until late evening. (B, L, D) More exploring!

Marksburg Castle, Koblenz, Germany

DAY 4 | KOBLENZ & RÜDESHEIM , GERMANY

Proceed along the Rhine, disembarking to tour the 700-year-old Marksburg Castle and its museum. Enjoy an onboard lunch as you marvel at this scenic passage, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where castles overlook the river from their hilltop posts. Arrive in Rüdesheim in the late afternoon. Spend free time in the pedestrian-onlyDrosselgasse and sample a glass of locally produced wine at one of the restaurants or wine bars. Dine aboard the ship, or in town if you prefer. Depart after midnight. (B, L, D)

Heidelberg Turret Gate, Germany

DAY 5 | HEIDELBERG & SPEYER, GERMANY

Cruise through the morning as you enjoy breakfast and the passing scenery. Arrive in Mannheim and disembark for a tour of Heidelberg to see Germany’s oldest university, founded in 1386. Then, visit the beautiful sandstone ruins of imposing Heidelberg Castle and take in the scenery of the Neckar River Valley and the city’s many red rooftops from this hilltop post. Continue with a walking tour through the Old Town to Heidelberg’s renowned gates.

Rejoin the ship in Speyer this afternoon and take some time to look around. You dock in full view of the imposing Romanesque cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built in the 11th century on the site of a former basilica, the building’s design influenced Romanesque architecture for centuries to come, and is the final resting place of eight German monarchs. Its soaring interior features graceful rows of sandstone columns and a large stained-glass window that was installed in the western façade during a later Gothic period. (B, L, D)

Old Town, Strasbourg, France

DAY 6 | STRASBOURG, FRANCE

Dock this morning in Kehl and disembark for a guided tour of Strasbourg. See the European Parliament and tour the interior of the city’s famed cathedral. The afternoon is free to further explore this Alsatian city’s blend of French and German cultures, resplendent churches, medieval covered bridges, verdant parks and handsome Art Nouveau and modernist architecture. Dine aboard and enjoy free time this evening in the amiable little city of Kehl. (B, L, D)  Time to explore again!

Braubach, Germany

DAY 7 | BREISACH, GERMANY

Arrive in Breisach this morning, gateway to the Black Forest. Take a scenic excursion through the area’s renowned mountain landscape, rolling meadows and dense forests. Once there, visit a local workshop and see a cuckoo clock-making demonstration. Return to Breisach or choose an optional excursion to the quaint Alsatian town of Colmar. Dine aboard and cruise on through the night. (B, L, D) This is a great place to buy your cuckoo clocks.

Basel, Switzerland

DAY 8 | BASEL, SWITZERLAND

After breakfast, disembark and proceed to the airport for your return flight.* Or, you may want to extend your journey with 2 nights in Lucerne. Enjoy the scenic landscape of the Swiss Alps with a view from your hotel, situated on the banks of beautiful Lake Lucerne. (B) When I take this cruise, I will be extending my stay in Lucerne,  There are a few attractions I would like to re-visit again.

The following meals are included: B = Breakfast; L = Lunch; D = Dinner with included complimentary wine, beer, and soft drinks.

Also, all the excursions included in the itinerary are included in the price.
Added bonus:  2 for 1 cruise and discounted airfare.  Be sure to call me for details.  I am looking forward to traveling on the Rhine in 2015 with some of my readers.
#river cruises
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NEW Taste of Scotland and Ireland

NEW Taste of Scotland and Ireland.

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NEW Taste of Scotland and Ireland – BOOKING NOW

2015TasteOfScotlandAndIreland11DayTaste of Scotland & Ireland

Join me next August on a 11 day Taste of Scotland and Ireland escorted tour.  Our journey begins in Glasgow, Scotland and ends in Dublin, Ireland.  I originally was organizing a British Isles cruise, but after much consideration, I felt we needed to have our “feet on the soil” for more than a few hours that the cruise would have afforded us to really enable us to immerse ourselves in the Celtic and Gaelic cultures of these two countries. This tour is more affordable also than the ocean cruise as all the excursions are included in the price. My recommendation is to fly into Glasgow a day early to start our adventure.  Check out this awesome itinerary.

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Day 1: Glasgow Highlights
Your Scottish trip starts at 2:30 pm when you meet your tour director at your Glasgow hotel and set out on an introductory tour of central Glasgow. This is a city that flourished in Victorian times due to the shipbuilding industry and international trade. Drive around George Square with its ornate City Chambers and visit Provand’s Lordship, Glasgow’s oldest house built in 1471. The house was originally part of a hospital and has been extensively restored and furnished. Join your tour director and travel companions for a welcome drink before dinner.(D)

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Day 2: Loch Lomond & Loch Ness Cruise
Travel alongside the famous Loch Lomond, renowned for its unsurpassed beauty. Travel through the deep valley of Glen Coe, notorious for the Campbell massacre of the Clan Macdonald in 1692. Continue through Fort William and stop at the Spean Bridge Woollen Mill, which offers a good selection of quality Scottish goods. At Fort Augustus embark on a short cruise on Loch Ness to keep an eye out for “Nessie.” Continue your journey north to Inverness or Nairn for your next overnight stay.(B,D)

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Day 3: Whisky Tasting & St Andrews
Drive to Blair Athol Distillery in Pitlochry to see how whisky is distilled and sample some. Continue south to St Andrews, renowned as the “Home of Golf” and for its university, Scotland’s oldest. Spend some time to explore on your own. Drive south to Edinburgh and to your gracious manor house hotel, set on 1,000 acres with two golf courses and spa facilities a few miles from the city. Dine at a Scottish Evening on some excellent Scottish cuisine followed by a lively show with songs, stories and traditional dancing.(B,D)

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Day 4: Edinburgh Castle & City Tour
This morning tour the principal sights of Edinburgh with a local guide. Drive along the bustling Princes Street and through the gracious, wide streets of the 200-year-old Georgian New Town. Walk along part of the Royal Mile where compact medieval houses reach 11 floors tall. Visit Edinburgh Castle, which dominates the city and contains the Scottish Crown Jewels and the Stone of Scone. The balance of the day is free. On August 4 to 25 departures, seats are reserved for the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.(B)

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Day 5: Ferry to Ireland & Titanic Belfast
Depart Edinburgh early this morning and drive south through Ayrshire and along the coast. At Cairnryan take a ferry ride to Belfast for a visit to Titanic Belfast. Learn about this famous liner which was built in the adjacent docks. State-of-the-art displays describe Belfast, working conditions and many other aspects of the ship. Drive south to Dublin and check in to your hotel, located overlooking Dublin Bay. The evening is at leisure for independent dining.(B)

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Day 6: Dublin Sightseeing & Canal Dinner Cruise
Tour central Dublin today to see fashionable shopping areas around Grafton and Nassau Streets, view elegant Georgian squares and pause at the evocative figures of the Famine Memorial. Walk through the campus of Trinity College with a student guide to view the illuminated manuscript of the 8th century Book of Kells and learn how monks created this and other masterpieces. In the evening enjoy a canal dinner cruise with traditional Irish music aboard a former Guinness barge through central Dublin.(B,D)

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Day 7: Farmhouse Tea & Blarney Castle
Travel through the midlands of Ireland, stopping for photos at the stately Rock of Cashel. Visit a farmhouse for tea with scones and watch skilled sheep dogs herd sheep. Continue south to visit Blarney Castle and kiss the famous “Stone of Eloquence.” Also visit the Blarney Woollen Mills where you can find quality Irish-made goods. Drive to Killarney, picturesquely set beside lakes and mountains. Check in to your hotel and relax before dinner. Afterwards you may like to explore some of Killarney’s famous “singing pubs.”(B,D)

blarney
Day 8: Ring of Kerry & Skellig Experience
Take a jaunting car ride to view Ross Castle set on Lough Leane. Then embark on the Ring of Kerry drive – a winding route with breathtaking sights of mountains and coastal views. Cross to Valentia Island by bridge to visit the Skellig Experience which describes the austere lives of early Christian monks on the nearby islands. Enjoy a casual lunch and stop in Sneem to admire brightly painted houses. Pause at Moll’s Gap for stunning views before returning to Killarney where you have an evening free for independent dining and activities.(B,L)

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Day 9: Cliffs of Moher & Bunratty Castle Banquet
Take a ferry ride across the River Shannon to reach the Cliffs of Moher, a spectacular wall of sandstone that reaches 700 feet above the Atlantic Ocean. Check in to Bunratty Castle Hotel, close to Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. If you wish, you may visit the Folk Park, have a drink in the 200-year-old Durty Nelly’s Pub or shop at the Bunratty Mills. In the evening head to Bunratty Castle for a memorable medieval-style feast where the lords and ladies will serenade you with song and harp music, evocative of the Middle Ages.(B,D)

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Day 10: Dublin Extension via Galway
Drive to Galway for a panoramic tour around the central part of the city. Visit Clonmacnoise Monastic Site, founded in 546 AD by Saint Ciaran. View elaborate Celtic crosses, round towers and ruins of medieval churches. Drive to Dublin and check into a different hotel and you are free for independent activities and dining.(B)

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Day 11: Depart Dublin for Home
Your tour ends after breakfast.(B)

*Pre tour night in Glasgow recommended.

*For the golfers in our group, arrangements can be made for you to play a round of golf while in Scotland.

**Cruise Like A VIP will host a special complimentary thank you dinner for my guests.

Call for details about this amazing tour.

919.708.8217

#scotland, @ireland

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Canadian Rockies and Glacier National Park – Booking Now!

banff1Canadian Rockies & Glacier National Park

Join me June 22-28, 2015 for a visit to some of the most breathtaking scenery in North America.  We are visiting Calgary, Waterton Lakes National Park, Glacier National Park, “Going to the Sun Road”, Banff and the Columbia Icefield.

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We start our adventure in Calgary where we have time to visit the city on our own.  I have a few ideas on things we can do in Calgary.  They also have some great restaurants we will need to try.

calgary

We are in Calgary one night before we journey to Waterton Lakes for 2 days.  During our two days, we will be visiting Glacier National Park, where we will ride the famous Jammer cars driving on one of the most breathtaking roads in North America.  “Going to the Sun Road” stretches across the Continental Divide and offers incredible views of the valley and Glacier National Park.

jammers going to sun road 2 going to sun road

We also visit Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, one of the world’s oldest and best preserved buffalo jumps-yes, this is a real place.  It has been used by Aboriginal people for over 5,500 years. On our way to Waterton, we may see grizzly bears, mountain goats, cougars, wolves, moose and elk.

waterton_national_park_alberta Prince_of_Wales

When we arrive in Waterton, we will stay two nights at the Prince of Wales Hotel.  Talk about stepping back in time,  this place is rustic and does not have televisions, but we are there for the views, and what views they are.  We will have dinner overlooking magnificent Waterton Lake.

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In Banff, we stay at the world famous Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel-known as the “Castle in the Rockies” for 3 nights.  While in Banff, we take a gondola ride to the top of Banff’s Sulphur Mountain.  Visit Bow Falls and the Hoodoos, also known as the “Land of Sleeping Giants.”  We journey to the Columbia Icefields and ride along the Icefields Parkway.  We take a ride across the glacial ice which is over 1,000 feet thick, the largest accumulation of ice south of the Arctic Circle.  For the daring and brave, we will take a guided wlk on the Skywalk to experience the breathtaking view f the Sunwapta Valey from the glass floored platform.  We visit Peyto Lake, a turquoise glacier-fed lake that is absolutely stunning.

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This tour combines the best of the prairies, the majesty of the Canadian Rockies, and the beauty of Montana’s Glacier National Park, giving us a superb overview of these U.S. and Canadian wonderlands.

I hope this itinerary inspires you as much as it has me.  Even the hotels are in stunning locations.

I have reserved space for 20 guests on this tour.  We already have 2 spaces taken.

Give me a call at 919.708.8217 for more details on this scenic and breathtaking adventure.

**Added bonus, special excursion hosted by Cruise Like A VIP**

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GREAT LAKES OF THE US AND CANADA

I had lots of interest in this Great Lakes cruise.

Cruise Like a VIP

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GREAT LAKES OF THE US AND CANADA

The Great Lakes form the largest freshwater ecosystem in Earth with a melding of natural wonder and majestic beauty.  We will Cruise through four of the Great Lakes this week (Lake Huron, Lake Ontario, Lake Erie and Lake Michigan.)  We also cruise Georgian Bay and discover grand landscapes filled with indigenous wildlife.  We will witness geographic history as retreating glaciers have left their footprint along the shores with unique rock formations and water falls.  We visit Flowerpot Rocks-located at the entrance to Georgian Bay and Niagara Falls, the largest and most dynamic water fall in the world.  We step back in time on Mackinac Island where no mechanized transportation is allowed on the island, so you will be either riding a horse, horse and buggy, or bicycle to explore this pristine island.  We visit Toronto, Canada which is a melting pot of cultures. …

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GREAT LAKES OF THE US AND CANADA

d4d7f0364a3e7fbaf067e544c9991577

GREAT LAKES OF THE US AND CANADA

The Great Lakes form the largest freshwater ecosystem in Earth with a melding of natural wonder and majestic beauty.  We will Cruise through four of the Great Lakes this week (Lake Huron, Lake Ontario, Lake Erie and Lake Michigan.)  We also cruise Georgian Bay and discover grand landscapes filled with indigenous wildlife.  We will witness geographic history as retreating glaciers have left their footprint along the shores with unique rock formations and water falls.  We visit Flowerpot Rocks-located at the entrance to Georgian Bay and Niagara Falls, the largest and most dynamic water fall in the world.  We step back in time on Mackinac Island where no mechanized transportation is allowed on the island, so you will be either riding a horse, horse and buggy, or bicycle to explore this pristine island.  We visit Toronto, Canada which is a melting pot of cultures.  On to Chicago to spend time in the Windy city.  You will discover when the wind comes off Lake Michigan why Chicago got the name “Windy City.”  This is a great itinerary visiting some amazing and cultural cities along the way.  Enjoy this “lake” trip this week.

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Itinerary:  11 days visiting Toronto, Canada, Niagara Falls, Windsor,  Midland, Parry Sound, and Little Current, Ontario, Mackinac Island, and Holland, Michigan, Chicago, Illinois.

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Pre and post days in Toronto and Chicago available.  You may want to take in a baseball game while in either city.

ADDED BONUS: 

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Dinner for two at the 360 Revolving Restaurant in CN Tower in Toronto with my compliments.

#River Cruises

Call for more details of this fabulous Great Lakes cruise. 919.708.8217

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Chocolate Connoisseurs Cruise

Chocolate Connoisseurs Cruise.

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Chocolate Connoisseurs Cruise

ship_amabella_1Chocolate Connoisseurs Cruise

Join us this week for an amazing cruise on the Romantic Danube River.  Framed by rolling hillsides, lush vineyards, and medieval castles, the Danube River has captivated musicians, artists, and poets throughout the centuries.  An added bonus on this cruise is Chocolate-Chocolate-Chocolate everywhere.  Not only do we have legendary destinations to visit, but we are educated about, see live cooking demonstrations, and eat lots of chocolate.  Now that sounds like something I could really “sink” my teeth into.  So all you chocolate lovers out there, put this cruise on your list of must do’s for next year.  Here are the added features of this exclusive chocolate cruise.

.Special Norman Love Confections Desserts

.Chocolate Mini-buffet Extravaganza

.Culinary Delights – Bites & Sights “Sachertorte & Schlumberger Cellar Tour”

.Educational Seminars on Chocolate

.Private Chocolate-making Demonstrations

.Decadent Chocolate Tastings

.Hosted by Norman Love-Chef, President & Founder of Norman Love Confections and Artisan Gelato by Norman Love

Norman Love chocolatesvienna_chocolate

The rest of this fabulous itinerary:

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Day 1.  Overnight flight to Prague, Czech Republic.

Day 2.  Arrive in Prague and check-in to your hotel. Balance of day is free to start exploring this beautiful city.

Day 3.  Prague -Morning Sightseeing tour visiting historic city center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit 1,000 year old Prague Castle, walk over Charles Bridge to the Old Town Square.  Evening, optional “Folklore Dinner Show” provides an opportunity to learn about Czech music, dance and traditions.

Day 4. Prague – Day at leisure or take an optional excursion to Terezin, the infamous NAZI WWII concentration camp, now a memorial to those who perished. Or choose optional excursion to Lobkowicz Palace.

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Day 5. Prague-Regensburg, Germany-We leave Prague this morning with a stop in Regensburg for guided walking tour of one of Germany’s best preserved medieval cities, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  After lunch, we visit 1,200 year old Bavarian town of Vishofen and board our luxurious ship.  We have a private “Oktoberfest” celebration in Vishofen, with traditional beers and Bavarian folk music and dancing.

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Day 6. Vilshofen-Passau – Morning free to explore Vishofen’s beautiful old town before cruising to Passau.  We will have either a walking tour of this 2,000 year old city-home to St. Stephan’s Cathedral (home of the world’s largest pipe organs”, or a guided bike tour along the Inn River to Weinstein.

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Day 7. Linz-Austria-Gmunden – We have a choice of 3 different excursions in Linz- a visit to the historic town of Gmunden in the scenic Austrian Lake District-a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a visit to the Czech town of Cesky Krumlov, a beautifully preserved medieval town, or an excursion to Salzburg, Mozart’s birthplace, where we will take a walking gour of the historic center made famous by the “Sound of Music.”

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Day 8. Melk-Krems – Guided tour will take us to Melk’s magnificent Benedictine Abbey, one of Europe’s largest Baroque monasteries.  We cruise the beautiful Wachau valley to Krems.  We have a choice of two excursions in Krems.  First a walking tour of the city, or a guided bike tour from Krems to Durnstein and back.  We also will enjoy a wine tasting at a local winery.

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Day 9. Vienna- Morning city tour of Vienna where we see the famous Opera House, the Ringstrasse, and St. Stephen’s Cathedral.  The afternoon we are free to stroll through the historic city center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  We can take an optional excursion to Schonbrunn Palace.  This evening we have the opportunity to enjoy an optional Mozart and Strauss concert.

Vienna_Austria_2DSC_1356_bDay 10. Bratislava, Slovakia – Scenic morning cruise to Bratislava, then a walking tour that includes the Old TOwn Hall, Mrbach Palace and St. Martin’s Cathedral.  Or we can take a “communist” tour that includes such architectural landmarks as the Radio Building, Liberty Square and the Soviet War Memorial.  Remainder of day is free to explore on your own.

Day 11. Budapest, Hungary – Sightseeing tour of the historic Buda Castle, with offers splendid views of the river and twin cities of Buda and Pest.  We visit Fisherman’s Bastion, Royal Palace, St. Stephen’s Basilica, and Heroes’ Square.  Aftger dinner, our ship will sail a special “Illuminations Cruise” past the illuminated river front of Budapest.  This is a magnificent site to see.

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Day 12. We bid farewell to Budapest and say goodbye to our new friends and fellow “Chocoholics.”

Remember:  We do all this and have CHOCOLATES.
Hope you can join us on the one of a kind cruise.

Added bonus:   Early Booking Discount on cruise plus  shipboard credit.

#Rivercruises

5_of_15_-_Belvedere_Palace,_Vienna_-_AUSTRIA  Call me for details on this fabulous Chocolate Lovers Cruise at 919.708.821796ZwLoTNQ5Z8Zk9IDYWXBSZOJQ4

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