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Old August 12th, 2011, 12:37 AM
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Default Viking Prestige - August 2011

I will be cruising on this beautiful, brand new riverboat this week on the Danube form Budapest to Nuremburg. Please join me!
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Old August 12th, 2011, 01:23 AM
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nurenberg?! I live near there. what are your plans at the end of the cruise?
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Old August 12th, 2011, 11:10 AM
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We are taking the train to Salzburg. For the sound of music tour.
I will write much when I am situated.
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Old August 13th, 2011, 06:14 AM
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We JUST reached the Viking Prestige - after 19 hours of flight time from Phoenix, to Dulles (Washington DC) to Frankfurt and then to Budapest. It is now 12 noon on Saturday - we left at 7:00 am on Friday (Phoenix time).

Anytime you travel you experience time shifting - but I sure would like it if the rooms were ready. They are telling us not until 3:00 pm. (3 hours from now).

This is not unusual, even luxury cruise lines hold you back until 3 to 4:00 pm before you can take over your room and relax.

So we are already enjoying the free buffeet and the free Internet access for all guests. What a fantastic idea - free Internet for everyone.

The ship is also beautiful, although I have not seen my stateroom yet. Budapest has come a long way sinvce I last saw her in 1998 - very much more modern and cosmopolitan. The buffet is very much in the Hungarian vein; paprika chicken with poppyseed bread, mushroom and potato soup.

I shall be reporting more on this experience as the week continues, I am tired now and dont want to say anything before I have the facts at hand.

I do see they offer a complete drink package for just $150 per person for the entire week - unlimited beer, wine & spirits. This is a very good deal - Celebrity cruises charges more like $55/day per person.

Having the free Internet is a dream for me, as well, since I always have to work during my cruises.

The weather is beautiful, the boat is beautiful, Budapest is a wonder to behold. I will more write much more whenever I feel like it - after all, it is free!
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Old August 13th, 2011, 06:34 AM
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wow, sounds like fun! When do you plan to be in Salzburg?
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Old August 13th, 2011, 06:58 AM
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Paul, you certainly have an interesting life. You get to travel all over the world and check out all kinds of ships. It must be though, but someone has to do it.

Enjoy the river cruise.

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Old August 13th, 2011, 08:26 AM
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I have to admit that I am pretty disappointed right now. I know this company and I like it, but they need to run this particular operation better.

Yes, my job is "tough." In fact, my wife and I left Phonix az at 7:00 am FRIDAY and now here it is 2:15 in Budapest and we are on this river boat - we have been here for over three hours now - and our staterooms are still not ready. My wife is sleeping in the sun on the top deck. There are others sleeping on chairs in the lounges, etc, We all need showers & toilets, etc.

This is not funny. We are exhausted. THERE ARE PEOPLE ALL OVER THIS BOAT WAITING FOR THE STATROOMS TO BE DONE.

But why can't they finish one at a time for the people waiting, and let them in their rooms? We all want to sleep. Our room was nearly finished ae 11;00 (we checked it out), but they would not let us in. New people are still embarking, so the management is insisting that ALL the staterooms will be ready at 3:00.

THERE HAS TO BE A BETTER WAY TO HANDLE THIS - THIS IS REMARKABLY INEFFICIENT. It is as if management doesn't even realize how miserable we are waiting like this.

I hate to criticize, but when something could be better, it could be better. All you need is a system to tell the room stweardesses which rooms have people waiting and let them finish those first. Making us all wait until the very last cabin is finished a deplorable management method.

I've said it, and I don't feel better.
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Old August 13th, 2011, 08:35 AM
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We will be in Salzburg Frday bight from 6:00 pm - Sunday at noon - then we take a tour, and thwn we are free again for dinner. We leave the next morning.
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Old August 13th, 2011, 08:38 AM
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Very cool! any plans for that weekend?

Im about 5hrs from Salzburg. BEAUTIFUL part of Europe.
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Old August 14th, 2011, 01:05 AM
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Our only plans are the Sound of Music tour Saturday afternoon.

NOw - UPDATE!!!!

Now that I have had time to sleep I do feel much better. right at 3:00 they made a grand announcement that our rooms were ready. They had spent the day loading in lugagge thru the front door, so the ship was hot. Bu t they did put out cooled washclothes.

I got my keycard annd went straight to the shower & to bed and slept until dinnertime. I would have gone back to bed right after dinner, but Lou Ann (who had slept on the upper deck for three hours) wanted too walk. We walked for an hour and I went back to bed.

I slept all night and now it is 6:30 and I am getting ready for an 8:00 am tour. I feel pretty good, now. No room service, but the coffee is not far away from an espersso machine down the hall.

Dinner was very good - not exactly gourmet but some very good elements. I had a Hungarian antipasto - what you would expect (salami, fennel, some mozzarella). My soup was delicious and dessert was also extra good. Ebtree, fried Spelt. Well, kudos for giving us local food. But it was small portioned and fishy. The "meat" choice" was fired pork loin with cheese on top. There is complimenatry wine with dinner nightly. It was an Australian Siraz - very tasty actually. There was also a white wine (I did not try it, but heard no complaints).

My wife's veggie dinner was very good - a lentil stew (lentils are highly recommend for veggies). Her soup was the same as ours but without the cream. The only odd thing was the "chef's surprise which was presented to us as "fried pork fat." One person at the table ventured and said it tasted like "fried lard."

Anyway. Budapest is beautiful. And today we have our first tour, so the cruise really starts AFTER this. ROUGH START, But my hopes are still high. The ship is very nice, we have a "french balcony allowing us to open the room up to frech air. This will mean more when we are on the river than docked in a big city. More later...

We retrun at noon.
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Old August 15th, 2011, 12:34 AM
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Default Day 2 on Viking Prestige


Today we had or first full day on our River Boat – the Viking Prestige. We were in Budapest today, and I have to say that if you have not been here recently (in the last 5 years) you will not believe how much it has changed. The city no longer looks like a refugee from the cold war era – it has come alive with a brilliant night scene, sidewalk cafes, and great views of palaces, parliament buildings, new hotels, restored cathedrals and new shopping areas featuring the best designer brands in the world.
Many former Soviet cities have had a hard time coming into the new Millennium, but Budapest is not one of them. We visited the “Pest” side of the city this morning, seeing the new public parks and shopping districts, and then we went across the Danube to the Buda section with its commanding hilltop views of the Danube from the beautiful parks and monuments over there.

We were summed to go on tour at 8:00 am this morning, and of course I have told you how exhausted we are. We made our bus and had a very nice tour, but it required an hour drive to get to the boat which had navigated up the river while we in the city. This is a strategy to get our cruise moving along so we can be in Vienna on day 2 (Monday) – skipping Bratislava, the Slovakian town that I saw back in 1997 on my first Viking River Danube cruise. I was rather looking forward to seeing it. But my guess it that it has not come along in the way that Budapest has – that it is still dreary and stark, like so many former Soviet bloc cities, and so they do not go there anymore. It didn’t make “the ratings.”

It was a big day in Budapest. At the airport we saw a limo driver holding up a big sign looking for the “Cowboy Junkies” – (a very hipster rock band from the 80s whose singer, Edie Brickell, married Paul y.Simon). I never saw the band, but I believe I past the bandstand where they were scheduled to play.
After our morning tour and drive up the river the re-catch our boat we had an excellent lunch onboard followed by several onboard activities. We had a tour of the wheelhouse where we learned all about becoming a Danube river boat pilot. The maitre d’ gave a talk on Vienna Coffee houses the the famous apfel strudel. Of course, he also talked about Sacher Torts, the famous Viennese desserts we plan to try once we arrive.
Tomorrow is a big day, with a walking tour in the morning, and two optional l tours. In the afternoon we will go the Schonbrunn Palace where the Hapsburgs stayed during their reign. And at night we will be attending a concert of classical music and opera by Mozart. The perfect Viennese lifestyle.
You know, it is important to remember that these two cities go together – are sister cities, as they were the co-capitals of the Austro-Hungarian empire. This Empire, which lasted from the 1600s up until World War 1 was essentially the capital of Europe. It extended into Germany, Poland, Switzerland, Italy and many of the former Soviet countries. I know in America we are not taught much of these important European details from earlier times, but to Europeans it was all very significant history. To see Budapest and Vienna is like seeing the New York City and Washington DC on the 19th century.
I want to say that the food has been very delectable. The choices are somewhat limited – still a simple choice of “meat or fish” every night (I had Turbot tonight). But The ship has done an exemplary job of accommodating my wife’s very strict non-wheat/dairy/gluten diet. Tonight she had a lovely combination of morel mushrooms, tiny corn, minced carrots, celery and onion with a mashed broccoli on the side. Delicious for her. Her dessert was a bit ice cream dish full of fresh, sweet fruit like pears, bananas, apples, and berries. She said “I don’t feel like a I’m just a problem to this staff, they really seem to care about pleasing me.” Every morning the Maître D’ squeezes her fresh fruit juice personally.

The rooms are VERY comfortable. The company (90% Americans) is very good mix of amiable Americans. A lot of people sat out on the top deck today to play dominoes, Scrabble, cards and other games, and to take on the beautiful views of local people sunning on the Danube beaches. There are palaces contrasting with flatblock buildings (as we sail past Slovakia) ten story highs that were built by the Russians during the communist era.
Right now we are enterting on of about 25 locks we must traverse even on this short trip. All in all this is a very interesting and gratifying cruise. Yes, we started pretty cranky, but we are really into the spirit of it all now. Tomorrow (Monday) is a big day. I must go and get some sleep.
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Old August 15th, 2011, 12:48 AM
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By the way - I just woke up. Unforutntely the Internet was down all night long and I kept trying to post, and would get close, but it would fail at the last step (running at glaacial speed) - this took about 90 minutes of precious sleep time away.

This morning it was still down, but i went and talked to the front deck and the person there said "I dunno, maybe when hotel manager wakes up."

But as soon as I got back too my room I was able to post. So here it is.

Free full-time Internet: a BIG plus+1 (this alone is enough to get me to recommend this cruise line).

But having it go down for 8 eight hours overnight (when people need to work, as I do) is a problem. I hope they get more conscientious about keeping the connection up all night in the future.

If it doesn't happen again I can forget about this bad night, but if it does, then...

WE HAVE A LONG DAY!! Morning tour of Vienna, afternoon tour of Schonbrunn Palace. Nighttime concert of Mozart (classical symphony and opera stars). Ah, river boars, gotta love them.
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Old August 15th, 2011, 11:33 AM
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Wow... so far an amazing day. I had been to Vienna before but I had never seen it like we saw it in the Viking River trip. We really saw the entire city - and impressive it is.

This afternoon we spent at Schonbrunn Palace - home of the Hapsburgs. These people practically ruled the civilized world for several centuries. It is as impressive as Versailles. Between Budapest and Vienna - there is an incredible amount of history on this voyage. More than most Americans even begin to understand, I am afraid.

Tonight we go to a concert Mozart and Strauss (the Waltz king) - two of the greatest composers ever. If you saw Amadeus you know Vienna is the home of the classical music -- Mozart, Beethoven, Strauss... all lived here.

A very exciting day!!
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Old August 15th, 2011, 12:38 PM
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Paul,

I'm very interested in this thread and I believe a river cruise would be the best way to see Europe. Our cruise "to-do" list includes a Amsterdam to Budapest cruise.

On the tours do they break up the groups into smaller groups that take different routes? I would find it a bit of a problem if the entire passenger contingent hits all the sites at the same time.

Take care,
Mike
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Old August 17th, 2011, 08:06 AM
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Paul, I am very much enjoying your reports. We are going Viking down the Rhine in 2012 and are therefore intrigued by your onboard updates, particularly the meals.

One important point about our voyage is, having also crossed the 'pond' several times, is that we will arrive a few days ahead in Basel in order to decompress and adjust to the time change.

Keep up the great reports and do enjoy the voyage.
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Old August 19th, 2011, 08:38 AM
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Default Viking River Prestige… Thursday & Friday...

Jason Leppert here posting Paul Motter's report on his behalf while his internet connection is slow:


We have been so busy there has not been enough time to post here. We arrived in Passau - which is an adorable, little German town, and we took a tour of the small city which included a concert by the second biggest pipe organ in the world. The sound was just amazing.

The river is getting less narrow as we move upstream - surprisingly so. In Budapest she was a raging torrent as wide as two city blocks. Now the river has become so narrow that we reached a spot that we can no longer navigate it.

And so we switch to the Danube-Main Canal - which we are in now. The Main River also runs through Germany but in the opposite direction.

Yesterday - before the boat made the switch into the canal we were docked in Regensburg - the home of the Current Catholic Pope. But that was not our concern although we happened to pass by his house; my understanding is that he has only spent 10 minutes there since he became the pope. Our goal was to go to the Mecklenberger Abbey, where they have been brewing some of the world’s best dark beer since the 1000’s A.D.

The church at the Abbey was absolutely beautiful, and the free beer & pretzels provided by Viking River were even better. Afterwards we took a small tour boat through the “Danube Gorge; “ the final bend in the river that makes it impossible for riverboats to go beyond. With limestone cliffs on both sides it is a dramatic ride.

We landed just below a large tribute turret built by Frederick the Great to honor the German defeat of Napoleon. Actually, we had to go there as our boat was held up in Regensberg due to another boat being stuck in the first lock of the Danube-Main canal. We had to wait until 7:00 - then out boat finally arrived. We meet within the first stretch of the canal.

We had our farewell dinner last night. This has been one of the most congenial river cruises I have ever been on. Everyone we met was very nice - a truly great group. The staff was very accommodating and the food was authentic and fresh.

This morning we arrive in Nuremburg. Many people will take an optional "World War II" tour to see the famous spots there. We are going to catch a train to Munich and then on to Salzburg so we can go on a "Sound of Music Tour." What can I say? My wife is a fan.

I will send more soon - I have to get ready to disembark today as we leave the cruise day early so we can go to Salzburg.
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Old August 19th, 2011, 08:41 AM
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Good luck, The weather is supposed to be great this weekend!!!

I just might try to run into you guys in Salzburg
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Old August 19th, 2011, 11:59 AM
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I just arrived in Salzburg - We took the train from Nuremburg -

THE MADNESS OF TRAAVELING BY TRAIN & TAXI AFTER A NICE CRUISE IS LIKE NIGHT & DAY!!!

MORE LATER!
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Old August 19th, 2011, 12:15 PM
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Paul so glad to hear the cruise was enjoyable. Good food, good chat, and, beautiful surroundings..life is good.....have a great time on land....
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Old August 22nd, 2011, 03:28 AM
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It was very nice meeting you Paul and Mrs. Motter

My ride back home was relatively uneventful (except for a bit of rain and traffic). I hope your flight back was similarly "boring".
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Old August 22nd, 2011, 10:00 AM
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How nice it was that you were able to get together. One of the nice things about Cruisemates is, meeting up with one another.
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Old August 22nd, 2011, 12:27 PM
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It was fantastic to meet Holly in Salzburg!! What a pleasent surprise.

Maybe she didn't ecpect us to be do "old" (heh heh) - notice the "Mr. & Mrs Motter" -

Holly is only 25 and she is in the Airforce, from Missouri (as I recall). She is stationed in Mannheim.

Her reason for wanting to meet up with us was that she just bought a brand new BMW motorcycle which she rode almost 360 miles to meet up with us in Salzburg.

Of course, by the time she actually located us (my phone was not working that well, unfortunately, - I didnt see she had been trying to call three time earlier that day). - but by dinner time we were in the Bier Garten in Salzburg and I got her call (felt a slight vibration in my pocket). So we hooked up.

An hour later she drove up to us on a local street. We chatted for an hour and then I asked if she wanted to sleep on our couch in our apartment hotel.

How LUCKY that we had been given a room with a separate "living room" - so Holly had a bed to sleep in separate from us. By 9:00 Lou Ann and I were dead to the world. I guess Holly was, too, but I don't know.

I know it was a really hot & muggy day, so she took a shower first - all that leather motorcyclists have to wear on a day like that would be a KILLER. The rooms have no AC. So we took showers next and we all just went to sleep.

In the morning we had to run to the airport, so we said goodbye to Holly and wished her luck - but it was really fun and a pleasant surprise to see Holly, a proud American young lady serving in our military. She found CruiseMates as a place to find a 'cruise mate" - something more & more people are doing these days.

Hey Holly!! Very cool to meet you!

If you meet any potential cruisemates here online tell them I will vouch for you as a responsible and fun cruise mate.
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Old August 22nd, 2011, 12:38 PM
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I have to say - after the "madness" of taking trains, taxis and hotels in Europe just to visit Salzburg, you can't beat a cruise - either by riverboat or cruise ship.

Our train ride was madness. We had to run to get on the right car on our first train. It was an August friday, so the station announced that the train was full and there were no gurantees you would get a seat. We did - foryunately, but that is the way they sell the trains - no guaranteed reservations.

On our train change in Munich - we had 14-minutes; NO time to even double-check the track number on the monitors. We had to RUN from track 23 to track 11 (as our reservation said). And when we got there we had to run to the section 2 of the train. We had doors slamming shut in our faces. We finally jumped into one car and sat down, my wife & I about 20 rows apart. We only jumped on because track 11 happened to say "Salzburg."

It was packed & hot. Then we had to get a taxi to the hotel ($$) , we had to buy dinner in restaurant ($$), etc. This is not way to see Europe! Stick to cruises, really!
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Old August 23rd, 2011, 01:36 AM
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It was a blast meeting cool Americans in Europe. You'd be surprised how rarely that actually happens.


HAHAH! Great story, Paul. It is very true. the trains in europe are cheap....for a reason. Renting a car, flying, cruising... are all more efficient and comfortable than taking a train Even the ICE trains (The really fast ones that make me feel slow driving at 100mph) have complicated itineraries and are pricey.

Reason number 1 billion why I am glad I have my own transportation around europe (car/ bike). Driving 8 hrs to Venice to my cruise should be fun tho
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Old August 23rd, 2011, 11:28 AM
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Yeah - we were on an ICE train from Nurenburg to Munich. It got up to almost 160 KPH.
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Old October 21st, 2011, 03:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Motter View Post
I have to admit that I am pretty disappointed right now. I know this company and I like it, but they need to run this particular operation better.

Yes, my job is "tough." In fact, my wife and I left Phonix az at 7:00 am FRIDAY and now here it is 2:15 in Budapest and we are on this river boat - we have been here for over three hours now - and our staterooms are still not ready. My wife is sleeping in the sun on the top deck. There are others sleeping on chairs in the lounges, etc, We all need showers & toilets, etc.

This is not funny. We are exhausted. THERE ARE PEOPLE ALL OVER THIS BOAT WAITING FOR THE STATROOMS TO BE DONE.

But why can't they finish one at a time for the people waiting, and let them in their rooms? We all want to sleep. Our room was nearly finished ae 11;00 (we checked it out), but they would not let us in. New people are still embarking, so the management is insisting that ALL the staterooms will be ready at 3:00.

THERE HAS TO BE A BETTER WAY TO HANDLE THIS - THIS IS REMARKABLY INEFFICIENT. It is as if management doesn't even realize how miserable we are waiting like this.

I hate to criticize, but when something could be better, it could be better. All you need is a system to tell the room stweardesses which rooms have people waiting and let them finish those first. Making us all wait until the very last cabin is finished a deplorable management method.

I've said it, and I don't feel better.
Paul,

Thank you so much for your thoughtful review of our newest ship, Viking Prestige. We’re so glad you had a wonderful time exploring the ‘Romantic Danube’ with us.

Please know that your feedback and disappointment about the check-in process on the first day has been shared with senior management. Should you wish to discuss this in more detail, we invite you to contact us directly at tellus@vikingrivercruises.com. We hope to see both you and your wife again soon!

Happy travels,

Viking River Cruises
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Viking Century Sky August 29-Sept 16 lonsdajk Viking River Cruises 1 August 26th, 2006 07:57 PM


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