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Athens Tips, Suggestions, Examples to Enjoy!


TLCOhio
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The fires are in the area of Rafina on the East coast of the peninsula - right across from Athens and about 45 minutes away. It is also densely populated in the summertime because of its beaches and summer homes and hotels. Of concern for travelers is that it is not far from the ATH airport. So far, there are no notices of flights being affected by the smoke or fire in the immediate area. There is a second area of fires near Kineta, west of Athens and very near Corinth. A 20 km section of the road from Athens to Corinth and the Peloponnese was closed for a few hours. Let's hope the fires are contained before more devastation happens. Here is a link to the English version of the Kathimerini newspaper.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/

 

Appreciate this follow-up info, link and background from marazul. From Sky News this morning, they had this headline: Scenes of desperate sadness as Greece deals with fires with these highlights: All the survivors talk about the speed of the flames, many saying that the fire seemed to be chasing them. At least 79 people have died and 187 have been injured in wildfires which have spread rapidly in Greece. The devastation in Athens has been called a 'national tragedy' and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has declared three days of mourning. The death toll could continue to rise as firefighters continue to battle flames, and the number of missing people remains unclear. There are many elderly people in this seaside resort. There's a chance they could still be inside their damaged homes.

 

Full story at:

https://news.sky.com/story/scenes-of-desperate-sadness-as-greece-deals-with-fires-11447959

 

THANKS! Terry in Ohio

 

Enjoyed a 14-day, Jan. 20-Feb. 3, 2014, Sydney to Auckland adventure, getting a big sampling for the wonders of "down under” before and after this cruise. Go to:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1974139

for more info and many pictures of these amazing sights in this great part of the world. Now at 208,964 views for this posting.

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From the Reuters newswire this morning, they had this headline: Greece to start burying wildfire victims, government facing criticism with these highlights: Greece will this weekend begin burying the victims of a devastating wildfire near Athens which killed at least 88 people, and has prompted criticism of the government’s handling of the disaster. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Friday took political responsibility for the tragedy as opposition leaders said the government had failed to adequately safeguard lives. The search for the missing continues and many people remain in hospital, while the names of more victims have emerged.

 

Very sad!

 

Full story at:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-greece-wildfire/greece-to-begin-laying-wildfire-victims-to-rest-amid-recriminations-idUSKBN1KI09F

 

THANKS! Terry in Ohio

 

SE Asia/Mekong River, Etc.! Just completed a Jan. 21-Feb. 20, 2018, first adventure through Southeast Asia with stops in Hong Kong and Bangkok, before traveling all over Vietnam and Cambodia. This includes seven days sailing on the Mekong River. Now at 29,781 views. Lots of fun, interesting pictures!! See more at:

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2591474

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  • 4 weeks later...

Terry,

I am on a Dodecanese island right now. The local talk is that tourism to these islands is 30% lower than last year because most European tourists are going to Bodrum and the Turkish coast to take advantage of the plunging rates of the Turkish lira. And, yes, the crowds are much lower than in some previous visits. The article above has a little "hype. "

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Terry, I am on a Dodecanese island right now. The local talk is that tourism to these islands is 30% lower than last year because most European tourists are going to Bodrum and the Turkish coast to take advantage of the plunging rates of the Turkish lira. And, yes, the crowds are much lower than in some previous visits. The article above has a little "hype. "

 

Appreciate this great follow-up and these details from this experienced traveler. YES, Bodrum is wonderful and the Turkish money values would be attractive. We visited in June 2006 these coastal areas of Turkey and these towns have lots of charm, beauty, history, etc. Agree, and I noted, there could have been a certain amount of "hype" when travel agents "spin" in order to attract more customers for what they are selling.

 

In both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal today, they had these major headlines: Greece’s Bailout Is Ending. The Pain Is Far From Over.and Many Greeks Struggle to Keep Their Heads Above Water as Bailout Ends.

 

Both of these stories are long and fairly in-depth. Both provide many details as to the personal impacts on people in Greece from and during the financially challenging times during the past number of years. This includes about people who had to leave Greece in order to find jobs and income at other locations.

 

Here was the sub-head in the Wall Street Journal story: "Pessimism and anger prevail, even as Athens government and European Union pat themselves on the back; ‘These children are born indebted’. " From the NY Times, they had this highlight: "Greece is reaching a milestone in one of the most ruinous financial crises to hit Europe. On Monday, the country will officially end its reliance on over 320 billion euros, or about $360 billion, of bailouts, opening a path to a new era of financial independence. The economy is slowly returning to growth, and European leaders are declaring an end to a debt crisis that nearly broke up the euro."

 

Full stories at:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/19/business/greece-bailout-financial-crisis.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fworld&action=click&contentCollection=world&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=4&pgtype=sectionfront

https://www.wsj.com/articles/many-greeks-struggle-to-keep-their-heads-above-water-as-bailout-ends-1534757400?mod=hp_lead_pos1

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Did a June 7-19, 2011, cruise from Barcelona that had stops in Villefranche, ports near Pisa and Rome, Naples, Kotor, Venice and Dubrovnik. Dozens of nice visuals with key highlights, tips, comments, etc. We are now at 238,408 views for this live/blog re-cap, including much on wonderful Barcelona. Check these postings and added info at:

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1426474

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Our experience is that tourism has not recovered to previous levels. Last time we were there what struck us was the number of men in the 20's and 30's just hanging about on the streets and in small cafes, etc. . We are considering a few weeks in the Ionian islands this Oct though we also see an advantage in going back to the Turkish Med coast instead.

 

There is so much more to Greece than Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini. We have found the people to be so welcoming-especially on the islands. This is such a great country to vacation for a few weeks, chill out, and visit some of the lesser known areas that are not frequented by the large cruise ships.

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Our experience is that tourism has not recovered to previous levels. Last time we were there what struck us was the number of men in the 20's and 30's just hanging about on the streets and in small cafes, etc. . We are considering a few weeks in the Ionian islands this Oct though we also see an advantage in going back to the Turkish Med coast instead. There is so much more to Greece than Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini. We have found the people to be so welcoming-especially on the islands. This is such a great country to vacation for a few weeks, chill out, and visit some of the lesser known areas that are not frequented by the large cruise ships.

 

Great follow-up and very wise points have been made above by the experienced iancal. YES, agree that there are many more options to consider and do in Greece beyond just Athens and a few of its most famous islands.

 

From the New York Times Travel Section this coming Sunday, they will have this headline: 36 Hours in Thessaloniki with this sub-head: Greece’s second city is filled with remnants of its multilayered past, but sprinkled among the monuments are plenty of modern diversions..

 

Here is their key opening paragraph highlights about the unique history there: "Frequently outshone by the idyllic Aegean Islands, and overshadowed by the ancient glories of Athens, Greece’s second-largest city is hardly a household name. But the buzzing metropolis in the country’s northern mainland doesn’t need to trade on its looks or fame to earn respect. The once-powerful port is still filled with the Unesco-listed remains of the three empires that ruled it — the Romans, the Byzantines and the Ottomans — as well as many traces of its multireligious past, which saw Muslims, Christians and Jews living side by side."

 

Sounds very interesting, but we won't be able to make it there in November. BUT, for the future, there are many more Greek locations and islands to consider.

 

Full story at:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/23/travel/what-to-do-in-thessaloniki.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Ftravel&action=click&contentCollection=travel&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=6&pgtype=sectionfront

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

From our Jan. 25-Feb. 20, 2015, Amazon River-Caribbean adventure that started in Barbados, here is the link for that live/blog. Many visuals from this amazing river and Caribbean Islands (Dutch ABC's, St. Barts, Dominica, Grenada, San Juan, etc.):

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2157696

Now at 58,870 views for these postings.

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Confirmation on the hype. We are now on the Ionian islands. We are hearing the same about the big drop in tourism. They say they are getting mostly the low spending backpackers.

The local economy will certainly welcome more visitors.

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Confirmation on the hype. We are now on the Ionian islands. We are hearing the same about the big drop in tourism. They say they are getting mostly the low spending backpackers. The local economy will certainly welcome more visitors.

 

Appreciate this above information and follow-up for the "state of tourism" in Greece. Yes, I am not surprised that tourism officials would engage in some "hype" about the recovery process. We are looking forward to seeing Athens and Greece again. Only two a half months until we depart. We will do our best to boost the economy there, enjoy the Greek people, culture and history, etc. Keep up the great sharing and insights. Encourage others to contribute their recent experiences in Athens and Greece.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

AFRICA?!!?: Lots of interesting, dramatic pictures can be seen from this live/blog at:

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2310337

Now at 41,545 views for this visual sharing including Cape Town, along South Africa’s coast, Mozambique, Victoria Falls/Zambia and Botswana's famed Okavango Delta.

Edited by TLCOhio
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Spending a few weeks in the Ionian Islands in Oct is on our radar. We done some initial checks on pricing. We can tell that business is down. IF we go, we are planning to go to Morocco after than. Two places on our bucket list! Still very much up in the air and it will depend on what the late booking air fares are like.

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Thanks Terry for the information on Greece. The articles are very interesting. We really enjoyed the Ionian islands of Zakinthos and Kefallonia. The scenery and beaches are incredible as are the People and food. We went to Morocco many many years ago and it was fascinating. I would really like to see northern Greece. So many islands I want to visit.

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Terry,

we are just back from our umpteenth visit to Athens. Third time in the Acropolis Museum. The building itself is stunning and its parallel display of the Parthenon metopes with the background of the Parthenon through the windows is superb. My only tip is to follow the arrows for the direction of the visit and allow plenty of time to enjoy and understand the history and art on display. The terrace cafeteria is a great place to relax and enjoy the view of the Acropolis.

 

But just as important, if not more, is the National Archaeological Museum of Greece, north of Omonia Square. This is where the most magnificent treasures of ancient Greece are, some dating back more than 5,000 years: The mask of Agammemnon, the gold of Mycenae, the statue of Poseidon, the horse and jockey from Artemision, Cycladic sculptures, and on and on and on.... Right now they have a wonderful exhibit in honor of the 150th anniversary of the museum.

http://www.namuseum.gr/index-en.html

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Terry, we are just back from our umpteenth visit to Athens. Third time in the Acropolis Museum. The building itself is stunning and its parallel display of the Parthenon metopes with the background of the Parthenon through the windows is superb. My only tip is to follow the arrows for the direction of the visit and allow plenty of time to enjoy and understand the history and art on display. The terrace cafeteria is a great place to relax and enjoy the view of the Acropolis.

But just as important, if not more, is the National Archaeological Museum of Greece, north of Omonia Square. This is where the most magnificent treasures of ancient Greece are, some dating back more than 5,000 years: The mask of Agammemnon, the gold of Mycenae, the statue of Poseidon, the horse and jockey from Artemision, Cycladic sculptures, and on and on and on.... Right now they have a wonderful exhibit in honor of the 150th anniversary of the museum.

http://www.namuseum.gr/index-en.html

 

Julie, in order to see the flag raising, be at the main (Western) entrance of the Acropolis before it opens. If you go in by the Plaka entrance it will take you longer to walk and you might miss it. The soldiers enter near the main tourist gate a few minutes ahead of opening time, so they will be up before you do. The ceremony lasts a few minutes and it ends with the soldiers singing the national anthem before raising the flag.

Of course, make sure you buy your admission tickets ahead of time. We bought ours at the ticket booth by the Plaka entrance around 6 pm the night before. Make sure you specify they are for the next day!

Also, for a great walk before sunset, walk up to the Philopappos monument for a fabulous view of the Acropolis and Athens.

 

As always, these above excellent tips and insights from the super experienced marazul are excellent. I will copy and post these on our roll call thread to share these key insights and suggestions for Athens. Very interesting and helpful!!

 

In 2006 during our first visit to Athens, we did go to the National Archaeological Museum of Greece and loved its sampling of wonderful Greek history and artistic achievement. That's when I learned how it was the Romans who "borrowed" (or stole) so much from Greeks artistically that made things look so good and fabulous during their famous reign as a world power. Greek history and art are really amazing!!

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Did a June 7-19, 2011, cruise from Barcelona that had stops in Villefranche, ports near Pisa and Rome, Naples, Kotor, Venice and Dubrovnik. Dozens of nice visuals with key highlights, tips, comments, etc. We are now at 239,840 views for this live/blog re-cap, including much on wonderful Barcelona. Check these postings and added info at:

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1426474

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I am just an enthusiastic traveler. Thanks for the kind comments.

 

Love your super spirit and sharing. Great that you have such wonderful enthusiasm. Now exactly two months until we do our sail-away from Athens going to Dubai during a twenty-day sailing. This cruise with Oceania will give us our first sampling of the Holy Lands, Egypt, Jordan/Petra, the Middle East, etc. Really getting excited to see Athens again, plus to explore these new (for us), historic areas that are so famous and well-known.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Enjoyed a 14-day, Jan. 20-Feb. 3, 2014, Sydney to Auckland adventure, getting a big sampling for the wonders of "down under” before and after this cruise. Go to:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1974139

for more info and many pictures of these amazing sights in this great part of the world. Now at 212,059 views for this posting.

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Originally posted by Stumblefoot:
Terry, here's my 2-cents... The
Acropolis Museum is amazing. Definitely worth spending an entire day here.
One of the best fine dining meals I've ever had was at
Spondi
(
). The langoustine and lamb were amazing. For a classic Greek meal, not far from the center of the Plaka, head to
Ermion Restaurant
. TASTY, Tasty, tasty!

Originally posted by CruiseCat99:
Terry, We are
mixed on our enjoyment of Athens. We enjoy being in the Plaka, not so much anywhere else.
Yesterday we walked to Constitution Square and watched the noon changing of the guards. There were police everywhere, but we did not feel safe. My husband is retired law enforcement with over 50 years in the field. He was very on edge. We kept waiting for someone to drive a car into a crowd or something else awful to happen. We left before it was finished.
The police here are on edge, and it is not a good sign.
They walk and drive in 3’s, and military are also always around and heavily armed.
There is anti-state, anti-police grafiti everywhere. There are people sending their children begging everywhere.
Most likely refugees. I would call Athens anything but safe and comfortable right now. This morning we walked to the
New Acropolis Museum. It is beautiful and definitely worth spending a few hours.
It houses the originals from the Acropolis, as much of what you see at the top is replicas. We were amazed at how close you can get to everything. Traffic is awful! We have found people outside of the Plaka area to be very rude, pushy, and dismissive. We had dinner at
Estia Taverna
. It was lovely, right across the street from the rooftop theater.

Originally posted by Stumblefoot:
With all due respect to CruiseCat99 and their feelings about Athens, me and my family
were there this June during the height of the Macedonia issue and the Greek parliament's debate of a no-confidence motion
in the current government. We stayed right next to Syntagma Square which is directly across the street from the parliament building.
Never once did we feel unsafe, whether in the crowd of the demonstrators or walking by foot
all over Athens. So, while I don't discount CruiseCat99's feelings, we
felt just the opposite
during what I would describe as the height of a constitutional crisis this year.

Above is from another Cruise Critic board. You will see
three
varied and various comments
,
tips, experiences and follow-ups from experienced travelers who have recently been in Athens. Will seek to
try one of the suggested dining options.
Sounds very tasty and interesting. Am copying and saving these items to my trip file on my laptop.

Clearly, there are some different views as to the safety and "feel" for Athens. Back in 2006, as we traveled from the airport to our hotel in the Plaka area, much of Athens at that time was a little and/or somewhat"third-world'ish". In mid-November, we will check carefully and see what descriptions work and fit for the safety and "feel" of Athens these days. As always in most large cities, you need to be careful and watchful.

 

Hope these recent insights are of some interest and value. Will share more after getting back from this trip in mid December 2018.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

SE Asia/Mekong River, Etc.! Just completed a Jan. 21-Feb. 20, 2018, first adventure through Southeast Asia with stops in Hong Kong and Bangkok, before traveling all over Vietnam and Cambodia. This includes seven days sailing on the Mekong River. Lots of fun, interesting pictures!! Now at 35,001 views. See more at:

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2591474

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We were in Athens a month ago. We felt very safe. There were a few demonstrations around, but they were confined to Syntagma Square. Poverty and begging are unfortunately very prevalent after the recent wave of refugees. Graffiti is a way of venting and too expensive to clean except in high tourism areas. The highly armed police in public places are a common tactic in many European capitals. No doubt being in law enforcement can make a person have heightened sensitivity to the local situation, but different countries may have different standards of policing. I am sorry it detracted from cruisecat99's experience.

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We had a lovely time in Kalamata and Nafplion, and loved Santorini. There are aspects of Greece we enjoyed on this trip. However, not enjoying Athens outside of the amazing historical sites and museums. We didn’t really like Turkey, again except for the historical sites, and were just discussing last night that Turkey felt safer than Athens (the part we were in).

We did not care for Mykonos, and would have like Chios better if we had booked a different tour. It appeared beautiful from our bus view...

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Cruise cat were you on a cruise that visited Chios and Kalamata? Both are places I’d like to visit.

 

We head to Greece again next week!

Yes. Our cruise started in Venice, then to Koper, Slovenia. Havr Croatia, Kalamata Greece, Santorini, Mykonos, Kusadasi Turkey, Chios Greece, Nafplion Greece, and ended in Athens.

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We were in Athens a month ago. We felt very safe. There were a few demonstrations around, but they were confined to Syntagma Square. Poverty and begging are unfortunately very prevalent after the recent wave of refugees. Graffiti is a way of venting and too expensive to clean except in high tourism areas. The highly armed police in public places are a common tactic in many European capitals. No doubt being in law enforcement can make a person have heightened sensitivity to the local situation, but different countries may have different standards of policing.

 

Appreciate these additional details, comments and follow-ups from marazul from and about Athens. Will share this helpful background on our Oceania sailing's Roll Call. Also, great sharing from CruiseCat99 about the other Greek stops/ports, etc. Keep it coming!!

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

For details and visuals, etc., from our July 1-16, 2010, Norway Coast/Fjords/Arctic Circle cruise experience from Copenhagen on the Silver Cloud, check out this posting. This posting is now at 231,027 views.

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1227923

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From CNN, the cable news network, today, they had this headline: In Athens, having fun is the only way to survivewith these story highlights: A decade ago, the streets of Athens were in tumult. Protests raged amid clouds of tear gas as the European financial crisis pushed Greece to the brink of financial collapse. Today, the city's cafes are bustling with cheerful and lively conversation, its art scene is thriving and people seem happy. Happy because all the drama is over right? Nope, happy because it never ended. 'Greeks lately are enjoying life a lot because they see that we're going down the drain, and the only way to survive is just to have fun,' says Pantelis Melissinos, a local craftsman.

 

Many details and items of background are offered in this long profile about Athens and Greece. This includes: "Visitors to Greece are expected to number 32 million in 2018, a record year, according to the country's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. Many are coming not just to the Greek islands but to Athens too. There's also an increase in investors putting their money into the Greek economy. Overlooking the magical and most famous landmark of Athens is the beautiful glass-covered Acropolis Museum which opened in 2009 (and was mainly funded by the European Union). The most recent example of cultural prowess is the massive Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre. It opened in 2016 with five acres of green space surrounding a complex that is home to the Greek National Opera and hosts facilities for the National Library of Greece."

 

The excitement is building for being in Athens and Greece in just a month and a half.

Full story at:

https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/athens-crisis-fun/index.html

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Lisbon, NWSpain, Bordeaux/Brittany: Finished June 2017 sailing on the Silver Spirit from Portugal to France along the scenic Atlantic Coast, plus great pre- and post-cruise experiences. Now at 25,380 views. Many interesting pictures and details on history, food, culture, etc., from my live/blog at:

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2511358

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Hi Terry, When you do your Greek blog posting will you be including your time pre-trip in the AVA hotel? I had already booked a room there for our trip next year and was interested in your thoughts when I saw in a previous post you were staying there for the second time.

 

Thanks for all the links by the way as it is interesting reading.

 

Julie

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Hi Terry, When you do your Greek blog posting will you be including your time pre-trip in the AVA hotel? I had already booked a room there for our trip next year and was interested in your thoughts when I saw in a previous post you were staying there for the second time. Thanks for all the links by the way as it is interesting reading. Julie

 

Appreciate Julie's nice comments and her follow-up. YES, will provide an update from our two nights staying at the AVA hotel. I am sure its location continues to be great. Hopefully, their service and facilities continue to be excellent. Will have more pictures and other details from being in Athens for the second time. That live/blog will be on the Oceania CruiseCritic board. Nice posting, as always, by marazul. Keep up the great sharing.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

AFRICA?!!?: Lots of interesting, dramatic pictures can be seen from this live/blog at:

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2310337

Now at 42,746 views for this visual sharing including Cape Town, along South Africa’s coast, Mozambique, Victoria Falls/Zambia and Botswana's famed Okavango Delta.

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marazul thanks for the Hera Hotel recommendation. It was on my short list as it looks lovely but my husband on land prefers larger rooms. He is happy enough with a V5 on Seabourn, but prefers around 30sqm or bigger on land.

 

Terry your cruise is very close so I imagine you are probably in final preparation mode. I hope you and your wife have a wonderful time.

 

Julie

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