• Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton
    Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton

Platinum Pebble – Top 10 Things to do in Provincetown, Cape Cod, USA

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

One of our favourite boutique inn’s Platinum Pebble based in Cape Cod USA has sent us their list of the top 10 things to do whilst visiting them which we would like to share with you:-

TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN PROVINCETOWN

Provincetown is high energy, great people and people watching, and authentic Cape Cod.  While it is only an hour from the Platinum Pebble Boutique Inn it can feel worlds away at times!  Welcome to one of the best spots on Earth, Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod.

 

Cape Cod

Photos courtesy of Mike Sankey

Photo courtesy of Mike Sankey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#1 THINGS TO DO IN PROVINCETOWN, EAT!

RESTAURANTS IN PROVINCETOWN

Photo provided by The Canteen

Provincetown is known for being a foodie town.  A number of great chefs started their careers here probably due in part to P’town always having been on the edge.  Think Anthony Bourdain and most recently Michele Ragussis.  You are unlikely to go wrong on your journey for outstanding food in Provincetown with everything from treats and sweets to fine dining.  As you enjoy big views, great boutiques, people, and energy do so with something you can only find on Cape Cod in your hand.  That could be a malasadas from the Portuguese Bakery or a Lobster Roll like only The Canteen can do.  We hope you enjoy discovering one of the best things to do in Provincetown, eating your way through a bucket list vacation!  Stay tuned for some of our favorite foodie stops and a couple do not miss eateries.

#2 THINGS TO DO IN PROVINCETOWN, RIDE!

PROVINCELANDS BIKE TRAIL

Picture courtesy of Platinum Pebble

Built when codes may have been a bit more lenient, the Provincelands Bike Trail is an incredible path through the dunes that surround the tip of Cape Cod.  Big hills, tunnels, shifting sand, and sharp turns make this an exhilarating way to see parts of Cape Cod most people miss.  Be careful, of course always wear a helmet, and slow down on turns to safely enjoy this amazing bike trail.  Experience at least 3 distinct ecosystems as you peddle your way around this 6 mile loop.   Take up to three different short spurs out to beaches and ponds and enjoy discovering part of what makes Cape Cod one of the best places on Earth.  Click here for more information on the Provinceland Bike Trails.

#3 THINGS TO DO IN PROVINCETOWN, SHOP!

COMMERCIAL STREET

Picture courtesy of Platinum Pebble

If you are looking for things to do in Provincetown, you can’t miss Commercial Street.  It is the tiny two lane Main Street that runs down Provincetown’s shoreline.  Just off the water are some of the best boutique shops, eclectic art studios, tattoo parlors, foodie stops, and pure history.  There is no doubt that you will enjoy the creative, colorful, people that make P’town home.  Click to read more about a Day Trip to Provincetown | Candy for the Senses.

#4 THINGS TO DO IN PROVINCETOWN, EMPTY YOUR BUCKET LIST!

WHALE WATCH

Photo from video footage taken by Captain Darren Saletta

This is a bucket list item for many and there is no better place to Whale Watch then right off Provincetown, on Cape Cod.  Multiple whale species make this their home for part of the year and almost every Whale Watch sees whales.  They are there and the captains know how to find them.  Experience the joy of these majestic giants, seemingly within arm’s reach.  If you are staying at the Platinum Pebble Boutique Inn, it is as easy as letting us know you are interested in a Whale Watch and we will have tickets waiting for you.  We are here to help you empty your bucket list one great experience at a time.  Click to read more about Cape Cod Whale Watching.

#5 THINGS TO DO IN PROVINCETOWN, TOUR!

ART’S DUNE TOURS

Picture courtesy of Platinum Pebble

Tour the dunes of the Provincelands in comfort with Art’s Dune Tours.  Family owned and operated since the 1940s, this is a rare chance to drive through the dunes that make this area so special.  Add in a beach bake at sunset and you are living like a local on Cape Cod!  Affordable and worth the time, this is an experience that will stay with you.  See some of the dune shacks that were built and inhabited by everyone from shipwrecked sailors to artists.

#6 THINGS TO DO IN PROVINCETOWN, LIGHT IT UP!

LIGHTHOUSES

Picture courtesy of Platinum Pebble

There are three lighthouses that surround the tip of Cape Cod, Provincetown.  They are Long Point Light, Wood End Light, and Race Point Light.  Each one is a decent hike to get to but, not too difficult.  The shortest hike will take you to Wood End Light just across the Breakers.  The same architecture carries across Long Point and Wood End, with subtle differences.  Race Point Light is a pretty decent hike and is amazing in its isolation and the spectacular beauty of its surroundings.  Click for more information on Cape Cod Lighthouses.

#7 THINGS TO DO IN PROVINCETOWN, BIRD’S EYE VIEW!

PILGRIM MONUMENT

Picture courtesy of Platinum Pebble

For one of the best views on Cape Cod, make the easy climb to the top of the Pilgrim Monument.  The whole Cape seems to stretch out underneath you and gives a much different perspective to this amazing spot.  See if you can spot Commercial Street, the Whale Watch boats, Art’s Dune tours, the three lighthouses that surround P’town, your new favorite beach, and the bike trail that winds through the dunes.

#8 THINGS TO DO IN PROVINCETOWN, RELAX!

PROVINCETOWN BEACHES

Picture courtesy of Platinum Pebble

Enjoy relaxing on some of the most beautiful beaches on Earth, in Provincetown.  Whether you choose to play on some of the more popular beaches like Herring Cove or Race Point or discover some of the more isolated and private beaches, you will be blown away by the natural beauty that surrounds you.   The further out you go past Race Point’s parking area, either East or West will take you to some pretty isolated areas.  Experience authentic Cape Cod on some of these amazing beaches in Provincetown.

#9 THINGS TO DO IN PROVINCETOWN

HIKE

Picture courtesy of Platinum Pebble

Discover the Dune Shacks Trail and see more of real Cape Cod that will keep you coming back.  Easy access off Route 6 at the Old Snail Road junction will take you through a short stretch of woods and to a mighty sand hill that leads you up and out of the surrounding forest.  The sand stretches off into the distance, up and down rolling dunes, to the ocean about a mile or two away.  As you get closer to the coast you spot what look like little houses, you’ve discovered the dune shacks of the Provincelands.  These are the same dune shacks that were built from the wreckage of shipwrecks and have housed everyone from wrecked sailors to artists over the years.  Click to read more about the Dune Shacks of Provincetown.

STAY TUNED FOR #10 THINGS TO DO IN PROVINCETOWN, PARTY!

 

If you would like more information on any of the above or to include Platinum Pebble part of you own bespoke tailor made holiday then please give us a call on 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Making the most of the Wild Rockies

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

We know how appealing the Rockies of both the USA and Canada are. Many of our clients return time after time to explore further. It is a year round destination if you like your skiing and winter activities.

One of the attractions is being in the pristine mountains and with all of the wildlife around you. Camping out for a night enhances the getting back to nature feel. For those wanting more of this, there is the chance to join a horse pack trek of 3 or 4 or more days through beautiful country, with mules bringing up your camping equipment and food.

What could be better than stretching out by the camp fire after a day in the saddle, feeling well fed and gazing up at a host of stars above you? You will certainly see much of the wildlife that lives here but if you wanted to learn more about it, you could join a trek on which the guide will teach you about tracking and seeing these animals and birds to your best advantage.

For more information on making this part of your own bespoke tailor made holiday call us on – 01323 446550 or email info@expereinceholidays.co.uk

Picture courtesy of Yvonne Dann

Picture courtesy of Yvonne Dann

Picture courtesy of Yvonne Dann

The Cuba Experience with Peter Ellis

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Cuba is a destination that is hugely popular at the moment, the increase partly due to changed relations with the US, and this in turn spurring on potential visitors to explore the island before it changes beyond recognition. Peter and his wife Julie visited for a holiday last month, and loved it! Below is their report.

With direct scheduled flights from Gatwick to Havana, and charters from both Gatwick and Manchester to Holguin, Cuba is easily accessible and well worth considering for your next Experience Holiday.

Havana
We stayed in B&B accommodation for almost the entire trip and they are recommended – better presented and family run. However there are good 5 star hotels with more on the way should this be your preference. The B&B’s are good value and often well located – ours was very central making everything very walkable for the Old Town.

You should consider a 4 night stay here particularly if the plane gets in late. There is so much to see and do and it is very worthwhile having a guided (themed) tour as many of the best sites are not obvious or easy to find. Added to which you will be shown the less touristy side of the city. Every kind of method of getting around from donkey carts to old Russian trucks squeeze through these streets so keep your eyes peeled. Certainly try getting around on a biki taxi, a coconut taxi and for sure book at least a 3 hour tour of the city and Hemingway Finca in a Classic convertible also taking in the fortress (the biggest in the New World).

We have a list of “Paladars” which are privately owned/run restaurants which are excellent but often fill quickly – so book some of them for the trip. Rum cocktails abound, especially mojitos which it is claimed were invented here.

Havana is a very safe, walkable place with huge contrasts in architecture and levels of renovation – from ruins next to renovated.

 

Guama, Bay of Pigs to Cienfuego
We took the long way down to Cienfuegos to take in the wilder Zapatas Peninsula which is a RAMSAR site and a big National Park. We stopped at a crocodile breeding centre (for the endangered Cuban croc) which was interesting and also the place to catch your boat to Villas Horizintes Guama. This is a good eco lodge deep in the Park and worth a night or two.

Bay of Pigs is the site of an abortive invasion of Cuba in 1960 but there is little to see here. It is also where you find “sink holes” connected to sea which are full of colourful sea fish. Take your swim suit so you can take a dip in one or to snorkel off shore. A good diving spot as well.

Cienfuegos is worth a one night stop as it has plenty of history, is very clean and some interesting architecture – Palacio de Valle is perfectly placed for outstanding views of the Bay and city. Cruise ships come in regularly, so get your sightseeing in early. The casa particular that we stayed in was eclectic and fun and had good food.

 

Trinidad and the drive there
Not too far to go from Cienfuegos but we detoured in to the mountains, Sierra del Escambray so that we could undertake a 3 hour hike through the mountains. There are caves, waterfalls, plenty of bird life and a chance to cool down in any of the cool clean pools you find along the trail. Well worth doing on the way to Trinidad.

Trinidad is a must see destination – a really well preserved Spanish/Cuban city which is very easy to wander around. Plenty to see and do, including dancing lessons and every evening dancing on the steps of the Casa de Musica. Live music is everywhere in Cuba and most of it is good. While here take the train to the sugar growing Valle Los Ingenios – slow but fun with a bar on board if you are missing your mojitos. Here visit the eighteen century mansions of the sugar barons and their slave quarters and learn about the sugar trade and those that worked for it.

On the Beach – Varadero
Finish a trip to Cuba on the beach. We went to Varadero which is well developed with large hotels and nothing like the rest of Cuba. The beach here is beautiful white sand, kept very clean and the water crystal clear. A great place to unwind and relax. Most hotels are all inclusive. All have entertainment and there are places away from the hotel to eat out at (one is Al Capone’s old home).

There are a number of other beach destinations which have their own appeal depending on your interests and preferences.

For more information on Cuba, give us a call or send us an email – we’d be more than happy to chat through ideas and possibilities with you.

Suggested itinerary link – Cuba Itinerary

   

All pictures courtesy of Peter Ellis.

Winter Photography in Bryce Canyon Country

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Capture stunning winter photographs of iconic spots  throughout Bryce Canyon Country 

Snow-Covered Hoodoos 

Capture the largest collection of hoodoos in the world at Bryce Canyon. These rock formations invaded Bryce Canyon 40 million years ago and are always changing because of frost-wedging in the winter, so your snowy photograph will become a part of history.

Picture courtesy of Bryce Canyon Country

Panguitch Lake

Whether you are looking up or down, frozen Panguitch Lake in Bryce Canyon Country offers beautiful scenery and great photograph opportunities. The snow and ice create an additional texture and color.

Picture courtesy of Bryce Canyon Country

Winterized Arches

Arches like this one have been forming for millions of years in Bryce Canyon. Arches are always changing and eroding from wind, snow and ice. But your winter photograph will capture their beauty and always stay the same.

Picture courtesy of Bryce Canyon Country

If you are a keen photographer or just like visiting amazing places then please contact us for more ideas to help put your bespoke holiday together – Call 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk

You can also visit www.brycecanyoncountry.com

Don’t be a Fool to miss the Fall – Your 5 must do’s

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Fall is a fabulous time to visit the Capital Region USA. Throughout the already scenic Blue Ridge Mountains and the valleys below, the landscape morphs into a kaleidoscope of colour. The fall harvest begins at farms and vineyards across Maryland and Virginia and is celebrated at festivals and events throughout the region. And the cooler weather brings a variety of outdoor festivals where visitors can experience authentic American culture. Here are five top experiences you should seek out on your autumn holiday to America’s Capital Region.

Take a Scenic Drive

Rent a car and follow one of the region’s National Scenic Byways to view the spectacular fall foliage. Skyline Drive, part of Shenandoah National Park, runs 105 miles along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains and features numerous overlooks where you can pull over, take in the view and capture some stunning vacation photos. Once outside the park, the drive meets the Blue   Ridge Parkway which continues another 217 miles through the mountains of Virginia. Known as the “road that built a nation”, Maryland’s Historic National Road passes through the mountains of western Maryland, travelling through small towns and historic sites along the way. Discover more scenic fall drives in Virginia and Maryland.

Fall scenics along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Virginia Tourism Corporation, www.Virginia.org

Fall scenics along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Virginia Tourism Corporation, www.Virginia.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skyline Drive - Credited to Virginia Tourism Corporation

Skyline Drive – Credited to Virginia Tourism Corporation

 

 

Taste the Harvest

Celebrate the harvest at farms and wineries throughout the region. Virginia Wine Month is celebrated in October and features wine festivals and special events at wineries, restaurants and retailers throughout the state. Taste one of the region’s specialties in its peak season during the Urbanna Oyster Festival in Virginia or the St. Mary’s Oyster Festival in Maryland. Harvest celebrations include the Suffolk Peanut Festival. Washington DC hosts several food festivals in the fall including Capital Food Fight and Taste of DC.

Have Fun on the Farm

Enjoy the crisp autumn air while having some old fashion fun as farms throughout the region host fall festivals featuring corn mazes, pumpkin patches, apple picking, hayrides and more. Check out all of the corn mazes and pumpkin patches in Virginia and in Maryland, look to Bowles Farm, Butler’s Orchard, Cove Run, Forrest Hall and Warrington Farm for fall fun.

Charlottesville-Vineyards-Credit Charlottesville-Albemarle-Convention-Visitors-Bureau.jpg

Charlottesville-Vineyards-Credit Charlottesville-Albemarle-Convention-Visitors-Bureau.jpg

Cheer on Favourite Teams

Fall kicks off the season for many of America’s favourite sports – particularly football. Fans pack the stadiums and sports bars, cheering on their favourite teams. See the regional hometown teams in action at Fed Ex Field, home to the Washington Redskins or M&T Bank Stadium, home to the Baltimore Ravens. Head to the VerizonCenter in DC to catch a hockey game with the Washington Capitals or a basketball game with the Washington Wizards. Steeplechase races are also prevalent throughout the fall. Checkout the Montpelier Hunt Races or the International Gold Cup in Virginia and the Shawan Downs Legacy Chase and the Jim McKay Maryland Million Day in Maryland.  

Get Cultured

Enjoy the fall weather while experiencing the culture of the region at one of many outdoor festivals and events.  Explore DC’s diverse neighbourhoods during the H Street Festival or Walking Town DC, an event featuring more than 50 free, guided walking tours throughout the city. Hosted in the scenic waterfront town of Easton, Maryland, the Waterfowl Festival celebrates the wide variety of waterfowl species in the Chesapeake Bay region with retriever, birds of prey, and fly fishing demonstrations, miniature decoy paintings, calling contests and more. The Virginia State Fair features animals and agriculture exhibits along with live music, shows, arts and crafts, a midway filled with games and rides, and lots of traditional fair foods. 

Picture courtesy of CapitalRegionUSA.Org

Picture courtesy of CapitalRegionUSA.Org

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jefferson Memorial - Credit CapitalRegionUSA.Org

Jefferson Memorial – Credit CapitalRegionUSA.Org

 

 

 

 

To start planning you bespoke holiday to the USA to see the fall next year then please contact us so we can put your plans into actions and help make the most out of your holiday with our expert advice – Please call us on 01323 446550 or email: info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Canada takes over the TV this week

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

This week the BBC are showing a few series which are all based in Canada showing what a fabulous place North America really is and certainly not to be missed.

We hope you caught Dan Snow last Sunday night with Operation Gold Rush in the Yukon. More jaw dropping scenery to follow next Sunday night (21.00 BBC2) in part 2.

Arctic Live started Tuesday on BBC 2 from 20.00 – 21.00 live from Churchill and continues on Wednesday and Thursday with Kate Humble, Simon Reeve and Gordon Buchanan.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/proginfo/2016/44/arctic-live-1

Finally if this is all too highbrow for you we have Buble at the BBC on Thursday BBC1 at 20.00. This will be similar to the show Graham Norton did with Adele last year which had over 4.5 million viewers.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b081vcx0

Visa Advice

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

With entry into many a country requiring the application of a visa or visa waiver prior to travel please do contact us for advice on the best way to do this if you are in any way unsure.  We suggest that you go directly to the embassy or government website concerned where you will be directed to complete the relevant information, and only charged the fee required for the actual visa or visa waiver.  There are many companies set up online who will be eager to action this for you, and in the process will charge you a service fee for doing so – this could amount to you paying well over the odds for your visa/visa waiver. 

We are always happy to provide the website links to the official sites so please do get in touch for assistance.  An ESTA for the USA, an eTA for Canada, an electronic visa for India and also for Sri Lanka are just some (but not all) of the locations where this is necessary.

Please contact us on 01323 446550 or email: info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Include Cape Cod In Your New England Trip

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

One of our favorite little B&B boutique hotels ‘The Platinum Pebble’ in Cape Cod, New England, USA have written the following article about being on Cape Cod –

The best place to stay on Cape Cod means different things to different travelers.  Why are you traveling and what do you enjoy on holiday?  For us, the best place to stay is where we have the best access to explore our new surroundings.  We live like a local in our travels and soak up as much as we can as we discover the best of where we happen to be.  Harwich drew us like a bonfire with its central Cape location, direct access to the beach and bike trails, farm to table restaurants, almost everything is walkable, and Provincetown is the same distance as Falmouth so we can easily explore the entire Cape.  Now our goal is to bring it to our Guests via customized itineraries so your vacation is everything it should be.

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Two of our favorite places to visit on the Cape are Provincetown and Falmouth but, the distance between the two is a couple hours…more in High Season.  When we first came to Cape Cod we chose Harwich because it opens up both sides of the Cape without too much wasted travel time in between.  For us, the decision was easy because we like to see it all!  As an unintended consequence we found that Harwich is also about the same distance to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket with drive and ferry time considered.  For travelers searching for the best place to stay on Cape Cod, it’s about making this a vacation of your dreams…what is important to you is what defines where you should be.

To decide on the best place to stay on Cape Cod, access and walkability were high on our list.   Harwich has it all and we have discovered that having very little time to spend enjoying the best place on Earth (as Innkeepers) we are glad to have easy access to nearly everything when we do get a breather.

For more information on making Cape Cod part of your bespoke tailor made holiday to the USA then please give us a call on 01323 446550 or email: info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

 

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Getting more from your trip to New York City

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

There is plenty to do in New York City from shopping along some of the most famous streets in the world, going to the top of iconic skyscrapers, heading across the river to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty to browsing through all the various markets. The attractions are legion but if you are willing to travel a short distance out then there is even more to offer.

Join a tour, drive yourself or take the train and taxi to the following attractions which are just a couple of hours away from downtown NY. Overlooking the Hudson River is the home of Franklin D. Roosevelt and a guided tour and tour of the garden will leave you far more knowledgeable about this historic President. The first presidential library is located here and gives you details of this particular era. Just a short drive further along brings you to the Vanderbilt Mansion. Full of stunning art, furniture and surrounded by national parkland, you soon understand why they lived here.

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

While in this area why not visit the Culinary Institute of America where students will give you a guided tour of the facilities and finish of dining at one of four restaurants found here. The food is excellent, as you would expect, and the prices very reasonable.

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

To stretch your legs, head to Poughkeepsie and the New York State Park found here. One of the key attractions is the world’s longest elevated pedestrian bridge. This crosses over the Hudson River and is over 2 kms long.

For those interested in history (and flying) then make your way to Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome which is home to a huge collection of 1900 – 1939 aeroplanes, cars, motorcycles and their memorabilia. From June to October there is an air show every weekend (weather permitting) with vintage aircrafts flying including WW1 German Fokker planes. For those intrepid enough, you can take to the skies in a biplane ride any day of the week.

A wonderful way to see this beautiful and interesting part of New York State.

We are a call away!

For more information please contact us on 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Wyoming’s Wind River Country – Home of an authentic Western Experience

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

If you have ever yearned to experience the real Western way of life, then this destination should be on your travel agenda. Located with a stunning mountain backdrop it will not be long before they will have your horse saddled up ready to ride in to the Old West. Within a few minutes you will be forgetting the stress of modern life and concentrating on the scenery, wildlife and the huge horizons.

The real cowboys will be looking after you, telling tales of cowboy wisdom and way of life and improving your riding and cowboy skills. All done with the legendary Western hospitality.

Make sure you are there for a Friday and go along to the regular Friday Night Rodeos in the town of Dubois. The rodeos originated as a fun gathering to practice and show off ranching skills and have now developed into entertaining, competitive events. A night to remember.

Picture courtesy of Wind River Country

Picture courtesy of Wind River Country

For those of you that enjoy mountain climbing Wind River Country hold an International Climber’s Festival every July celebrating the climbing lifestyle. With speakers, competition, food, music and competitions it is a fun way to enjoy the sport and meet like minded people from around the world.

Finally, visit the Wind River Wild Horse Sanctuary to see these wild animals and to learn of their story in North America – particularly how the Native Americans lived and used them.

Start planning now to ensure your bespoke, tailor made holiday in this amazing and adventurous place is confirmed.

 Contact one of our expert team on Tel: 01323 446550 or email:  info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Picture courtesy of Yvonne Dann

Picture courtesy of Yvonne Dann

 

Picture courtesy of Yvonne Dann

Picture courtesy of Yvonne Dann

 

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