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Thunder on the Plains: 48th Annual Buffalo Roundup South Dakota

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South Dakota Department of Tourism Badlands

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South Dakota Department of Tourism Mount Deadwood

Witness one of the true spectacles of America’s Wild West…

The American bison, or buffalo, is an iconic creature native to the grasslands of North America. This majestic beast was on the verge of extinction in the 19th century, but has seen a resurgence in recent decades. Historically, the animal played an essential role in the lives of the Lakota (Sioux), who relied on the buffalo for food, clothing and shelter. Today, large numbers of buffalo can be found in areas of South Dakota.

Located in the Black Hills of south western South Dakota, Custer State Park is the second-largest state park in the United States (71,000 acres). The park is home to one of the largest publicly-owned buffalo herds in the world. Nearly 1,300 bison roam freely throughout the park and are often viewed along the 18-mile Wildlife Loop Road. Sightings of pronghorn antelope, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, deer, elk, wild turkeys, and friendly burros are also common on this stretch of road.
Each September, Custer State Park holds the Buffalo Roundup (this year’s event is on 27 September), an annual event at which park staff round up the buffalo and herd them into corrals. The roundup is the first step in preparing part of the herd for auction. Once the herd is in the corrals, spectators can watch park staff sort, brand, test and select certain animals for the fall sale. The majority are released back onto the grasslands of Custer State Park. The roundup is conducted to keep the bison population in check with the available grassland.

And whilst you are in the area visit some of South Dakota boasts other world-renowned attractions including:-

  • Crazy Horse Memorial, the world’s largest sculpture in progress – each year, Crazy Horse Memorial holds an annual Volksmarch, in which the public is invited to hike to the arm of the memorial – this years event is on 29 and 30 September
  • Mount Rushmore National Monument, a short 15-minute drive from Crazy Horse Memorial.
  • Two of the world’s premier caves, Jewel Cave National Monument and Wind Cave National Park
  • The Old West town of Deadwood in the northernBlack Hills
  • Badlands National Park

Combine you holiday to South Dakota, with the neighbouring states of Wyoming, Montana or Colorado. We will help you put together the perfect Wild West holiday.

Click on one of the links below for itinerary ideas
The Wild West
A Western Adventure
or visit our website www.experienceholidays.co.uk

All photographs courtesy of South Dakota Department of Tourism

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South Dakota Department of Tourism

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South Dakota Department of Tourism Mount Rushmore

New Tours in the USA…

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We have added to our webpage three great new tours in New England, the South and Great Lakes USA.

For those of you would prefer to leave the driving to others, we are able to offer a number of small group escorted tours throughout North America. These are just a small selection that we have to offer.

If you would like more information please contact us on 01323 446550 or email: info@experienceholidays.co.uk

To see the tour itineraries in more detail please click link: http://www.experienceholidays.co.uk/index.asp?pgid=301

Pictures courtesy of Mr & Mrs Bannister and Peter Ellis.

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Thinking about what to do for your next holiday then take a look at Triple Creek Ranch…

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Vicki Tester

 

Triple Creek Ranch is a truly gorgeous mountain hideaway and perfect for a special occasion – a luxury all-inclusive resort nestled in the Bitterroot Mountain Range of the Montana Rockies, close to border with Idaho. This year round resort, a member or the prestigious Relais & Chateaux collection, has an exceptional level of service, incorporating luxury private log cabin accommodation, fine dining and world class wines.

Picture courtesy of Triple Creek Ranch

Surrounded by incomparable scenery and wildlife, the ranch offers a wide range of activities from which to choose. In spring, the meadows are alive with wild flowers, in summer the sun-filled days are perfect for horseback riding, fishing, hiking, float trips and rafting. Autumn brings stunning fall colours – bright blue skies and crisp cool evenings. In winter, enjoy cross-country or Alpine skiing – just 30 minutes from the resort is the Lost Trail Powder Mountain Ski Resort – with an average yearly snowfall of 300 inches of powdery snow this is skiing without the long lift lines and crowds. Snowmobiling, snowshoeing or horseback riding through unspoiled snow-covered wilderness are also on offer. Then spend your evenings relaxing in front of a cozy fire.

 

Situated midway beteen Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, a stay at this fabulous ranch fits perfectly into a holiday to this stunning region.

 

Please contact us for more information.

Picture courtesy of Triple Creek Ranch

Picture courtesy of Triple Creek Ranch

Picture courtesy of Triple Creek Ranch

Picture courtesy of Triple Creek Ranch

Picture courtesy of Triple Creek Ranch

Picture courtesy of Triple Creek Ranch

 

Relocating New RV’s in the USA and Canada

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Vicki Tester

 

Every year Cruise America and Cruise Canada offer one way trips in their brand new RV’s and at reduced prices to clients. This allows them to move their new stock to the locations that they are needed in for the summer while allowing clients a chance to cross these two countries at a fair price. It is early in the year – typically April and May and the weather cannot be guaranteed.

However it is a great way to travel and at a quiet time of the year! Peter has done this 3 times over the past years and would recommend taking advantage of the offer. However, there are limited numbers of vehicles and they go on a first come first booked basis.

Please contact us if you like the idea of freewheeling across either country and would like more information.

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis
Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Time to start thinking of your next summer holiday…

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Vicki Tester

 

USA and Canada

Everyone’s situation is different as to what they need to think about when booking a holiday. Do you have children at school, are you in a job that restricts you from taking time off when you like?

Early planning is a must to avoid disappointment in these situations. Booking early also means you can take advantage any early booking discounts, which can save significantly sums for your holiday.

We are here to assist you make those plans and to help take the stress out of organising your trip. Once booked you can simply sit back and look forward to a wonderful holiday!

We are experts in the USA and Canada priding ourselves on the fact we have stayed in and visited many of the places we send our clients, helping you to make the best choices. The USA and Canada are well worth booking early in high season and they both offer something for everyone, from big city glamour to small town charm but can have limited availability.

 

USA – first thoughts

For the USA ‘big city glamour’ try the city of Chicago in Midwestern USA, a metropolitan hub for dining, shopping and entertainment. The Magnificent Mile is one of Chicago’s most famous shopping districts, and you’ll find flagship stores — from high street favourites to high fashion stores — along the stretch of shops. Nearby, wander along State Street, where you can visit the original Marshall Field’s, now Macy’s. For boutique shopping, head to Chicago’s 77 neighbourhood, where you’ll find unique, one-of-a-kind items you simply won’t want to leave without.

Chicago is bursting at the seams with theatrical talent. Broadway in Chicago and many Tony Award winning companies bring in big names and blockbuster shows, while more than 200 storefront, experimental and neighbourhood theatres bring you pioneering contemporary performances. Chicago is also a city that loves to laugh —after all Chicago invented improvisation comedy. See where Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell performed at world-famous ‘The Second City’. If stand-up comedy is your thing, grab your tickets for The Laugh Factory or Zanies. It is also a hub for all kinds of music and well worth experiencing.

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For small town charm, we would recommend Jackson in Wyoming USA, sitting 15 miles from the Idaho border and approximately 12 miles from the entrance of Grand Teton National Park and 60 miles from the famous Yellowstone National Park. Offering you an adventure holiday exploring the wildlife and immersing in the local culture. You can explore on skis (in winter), mountain bikes, rafts, horse drawn stagecoaches. Add in exquisite cuisine, world-renowned art, and unique shopping to make a holiday to remember.

 

Picture courtesy of Yvonne Dann

Picture courtesy of Yvonne Dann

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Canada some places to consider

For ‘big city glamour’ consider a visit to the vibrant city of Vancouver, British Columbia with its skyline of glass buildings and the surrounding ocean and coastal mountains. Here you can swim from the beach and then go off to explore a mountain all in one day.  This is such a versatile city with so much to do. The city is the largest in British Columba, but manages to hold on to its rustic charm and natural beauty nonetheless. Visitors can enjoy bike riding, shopping, visiting a local museum or just relaxing in Stanley Park. Take the free shuttle service out to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. Originally built in 1889, Capilano Suspension Bridge stretches 450 feet (137m) across and 230 feet (70m) above Capilano River. Cliffwalk is the park’s newest attraction – a cantilevered walkway clinging to the granite cliff high above Capilano Canyon. Treetops Adventure, seven suspension bridges through the evergreens taking you up to 100 feet (30m) above the forest floor, offers a unique squirrel’s eye perspective of the forest. See the jaw-dropping majestic nature of British Columbia unfold as you ascend via aerial tram to the summit of Grouse Mountain. Rising 4,100 feet (1,250 metres) above Vancouver and just 15 minutes from the city’s downtown.

You can dine at a world class restaurant or join a Vancouver foodie tour which allows you to visit a wide variety of highly recommended restaurants trying varied cuisine and enjoying the nightlife. A visit to Granville Island is a must for true foodies looking to sample the best of this coastal city. This gastronomic-focused district offers everything from elegant waterfront restaurants to small ethnic eateries. The Granville Island Public Market is a must see, an indoor market featuring a fascinating assortment of food and produce, displaying handcrafted products and unique gifts.

 

Picture courtesy of Yvonne Dann

Picture courtesy of Yvonne Dann

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For small town charm in Canada, we suggest Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan – an attractive town with an underground network of bootlegging tunnels connecting buildings. The tunnels were created in 1908 for a steam system that never happened, but it is rumoured that Al Capone gambled and made deals in them. You can get around this historic town on trolley buses and guided tours, stopping to visit one of the many attractions and museums, or you can simply relax in one of the many spas around the town. Summer in Moose Jaw is always bustling with activities such as Sidewalk Days, Park Art, the Motif Multicultural Festival, Farmers’ Markets, events in Crescent Park and much more.

 

Picture courtesy of Tourism Saskatchewan Greg Huszar Photography

Picture courtesy of Tourism Saskatchewan Greg Huszar Photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information and help with organising and booking your holiday please contact us.

It is not too late!

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Vicki Tester

 

With the longest day just about to arrive and the true summer weather with us, you may think that it is too late to book a holiday for this year, but you could well be wrong! Many regions still have the capacity to take good numbers of travellers and still feel un-crowded.

Parts of Canada and the USA fit this bill well and do have the option of medium and long haul flights on offer. Atlantic Canada is just 6-7 hours flying time away and offers a huge variety of experiences, scenery and excellent food and wine. Eastern USA also has much to offer and is only a little longer on the plane. September is a particularly good time for these regions, as the fall colours begin to show.

If you are willing to be more adventurous in your destinations and avoid the really popular locations, then you have time to book your holiday for this summer or autumn.

It starts with a call – Contact us / 01323 446550 and you could be on your way.

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Picture courtesy of Yvonne Dann

 

September – the perfect month to explore America’s beautiful South-West…

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Vicki Tester

 

If you are still thinking of a holiday for later this year then consider a drive taking in some of North America’s most spectacular National and State Parks.  Without the summer crowds and with perfect temperatures for walking, October is a great time to explore the mountains, canyons, deserts, lakes and rivers of Arizona and Utah. Begin your adventure in Phoenix or Las Vegas. With stops for 1 or 2 nights at the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Monument Valley, Canyon de Chelly and Sedona, this will be a truly memorable journey through some of the most dramatic and breathtaking landscapes imaginable.

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information on booking your tailor made, bespoke holiday contact us now.

You can also take a look at our website at www.experienceholidays.co.uk where you will find tailor made, bespoke itineries to suit all tastes.

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

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

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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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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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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.

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