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Romeing Tours Review – Vatican City

Our Vatican City Romeing Tours Review. Make sure you check them out next time you are in Rome because the sandwich alone is worth it!

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St Peters Basilica, Romeing Tours

What do Zac Effron, the Pope, women pretending to be men and ancient history all have in common? Not a lot you might reply. Unless of course you had just been on a Romeing Tour through the streets of Rome and inside the holiest of holy’s, the Vatican City. This is our Romeing ours review of the Vatican City.

Due to our total ignorance and lack of historical knowledge of the Vatican City we decided that we really should take a tour to appreciate the wonders of the smallest country in the world. It’s even located within the city limits of Rome. Don’t bother with your passport though as you won’t be getting a stamp on your way in.

St Peters Basilica, Romeing Tours Review

Romeing Tours Review: St Peters Basilica

Romeing Tours Review

Romeing Tours has been around for over 10 years and has been designed for budget backpackers in mind. The Vatican City tour is only 20 Euros and is pretty damn good value for a tour advertised as lasting 4/5 hours. Ours took over 6 hours so be prepared for a long day.

Travel Tip: The heat really sucks it out of you in summer so bring plenty of water and sunblock as you will need it.

There is quite a bit of walking but it’s done at a very slow pace with lots of breaks. My first question (of course) was “what about lunch?!” But do not fear as they take you to an “insanely bad-ass” sandwich shop along the way. And we can vouch for how bad-ass they really were!

A-ma-zing.

Best Rome Sandwiches, Romeing Tours Review

Romeing Tours Review: Worth it just for the badass sandwich

Romeing Tours Vatican City Tour

To keep your attention, the guides weave a masterful tale of intrigue, history, humour and pop culture to create a really upbeat and humorous account of the history of the Vatican City. I am sure they have all been trained as comedians and I actually haven’t laughed that much in so long!

This was actually awesome as a lot of the jokes made references to people or characters I know. Justin Bebier, Katniss Everdeen and of course the Twilight characters were all mentioned. As I am a total book nerd I loved it!

Our tour started with our Canadian guide, Justin, embarking on an overview of how the Vatican City came about. As well as some really interesting information on Rome’s history in general. Usually I zone out after about ten minutes of constant information overload that usually accompanies tours.

This time I found myself listening intently to Justin’s comical and interesting speeches. In fact I think I was laughing the loudest at his jokes much to Cole’s embarrassment.

After a couple of hours of one of the better history lesson I have had it was on to the Vatican City itself. Unfortunately as mentioned, Romeing Tours is not one of the selected tour groups who get to skip the lines, so we had to wait for about 20 minutes which sucked.

Note: You will have to buy your own tickets to the Vatican and wait in line.

Rome Pictures, Rome Photos, Vatican Photos, Romeing Tours Review

Romeing Tours Review: Inside the Vatican

The Vatican Museum was ridiculously busy and it was at this point that I really appreciated having a guide. Justin was able to point out the key items, arguably his favourites but no complaints, in the museum and give some background history on all of them. So many of which revolve around the world renowned Michelangelo.

To me this is far more preferable than walking aimlessly through the museum not knowing what the pieces are. And instead of looking like other tour group sheep with ridiculous headsets and an umbrella to follow, we looked semi-normal.

One of the downsides of the tour for us was that you are actually only in the Vatican for just under half the tour. Walking through the ancient halls of the Vatican Museum with so many historical artefacts surrounding you really is an enlightening moment. We would have loved to explore more of the artworks and statues for a few hours as it all felt a little rushed.

Romeing Tours Vatican Museum, Romeing Tours Review

Romeing Tours Review: The Vatican Museum

However, in argument to myself, I don’t think we could actually handle any more time amongst the sweaty chaotic crowds within the Vatican Museum walls.

Basically the entire tour builds towards the grand finale inside the Sistine Chapel. Looking up at Michelangelo’s fresco painting on the ceiling is a bit hard to believe. Even for non-arty types like ourselves, it is bloody impressive.

The tour finished outside St Peters Basilica overlooking the main square. This is perfect as you are then free to wander through the Basilica at your leisure and also go back into the Vatican museum if you wish. By then it was too late for us and 6 hours had worn us out. Plus that incredibly “bad-ass” sandwich was long gone and we were starving.

Romeing Tours Review Overall

Overall it was a really interesting and informative tour and I particularly loved the humorous slant. We definitely learnt a bucket load of new information which we wouldn’t have learnt through an audio guide.

The only negative to keep in mind is that the tour is really long. While it actually flew by it was draining and as like our tour it can be longer than anticipated. So don’t make any plans for a few hours after the tour in case it runs over.

We definitely recommend the Romeing the Vatican Tour to everyone not just backpackers and we actually wished we had time to take part in their other tours which include a walking tour all over Rome and a Romeing in the Dark tour.

Travel Tip: Everyone needs to wear appropriate clothing inside the Vatican which they are very strict about. That means both shoulders and knees covered.

Disclaimer: We were provided with a free tour of Vatican City by Romeing Tours, although as always our Romeing Tours review and thoughts are our own and are never influenced by others.

Adela is one half of the New Zealand Adventure Couple who have been travelling since 2009. She loves the outdoors and has a real passion for Snowboarding, Mountain Biking and Surfing (apart from being scared of sharks). She loves food and writes all our food posts. Consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. Ayngelina

    June 24, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    I never went to the Vatican because I didn’t want to wait in line.

    • Cole Burmester

      June 25, 2012 at 3:59 PM

      Fair enough because we heard terrible stories of queues for hours. Fortunately this wasn’t the case for us 🙂

  2. Keane

    June 24, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    Awesome! What was the name of the sandwich shop? There was a place near the piazza that I tried three times to go to, but it was always closed!

    • Cole Burmester

      June 25, 2012 at 4:03 PM

      That sucks it was always closed! They operate some funny hours sometimes. The sandwich shop was called Duecento Gradi and near the corner of Via Vespasiano and Bastioni di Michelangelo. Definitely worth a visit 🙂

  3. Laurence

    June 24, 2012 at 5:39 PM

    I’ve always enjoyed visiting Rome and the Vatican City. I’ve never taken a guide though, and it sounds like a really worthwhile investment – particularly at that price!

  4. Karen @ Trans-Americas Journey

    June 24, 2012 at 10:07 PM

    An engaging, funny, sandwich-filled 6 hour tour of Vatican City for 20 euros? Awesome!

    • Cole Burmester

      June 25, 2012 at 4:06 PM

      Worth it just for the sandwich alone 🙂 Well worth the tour though as we learnt so much more which we wouldn’t have if we did it alone.

  5. Turtle

    June 25, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    Sounds like a great way to do it. I think you always get so much more out of the experience if you have a guide who can give you the context of what you’re seeing.

    • Cole Burmester

      June 25, 2012 at 4:07 PM

      The guide was brilliant. Even though he wasn’t a native Roman he knew all his stuff. Well worth it.

  6. Jeremy Branham

    June 25, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    It’s been many years since I’ve been to the Vatican. When I was there, it was late May so the lines weren’t horrible. However, I would have liked a history lesson of the area but the guided tour of the museum took too long. I think I was just tired that day. Glad the tour was interesting and entertaining. That’s way to combat the heat and crowds.

    • Cole Burmester

      June 25, 2012 at 4:11 PM

      We despised all the other tour groups as they constantly got in our way haha. They probably thought the same about us! Nothing like being exhausted while travelling to quickly change your perception of a place you visit.

  7. Jess | GlobetrotterGirls

    June 25, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    This sounds really great, I definitely want to do at least one tour of Rome – so much to learn. The sandwich looks great. Hopefully the tour company can figure out some sort of queue jumping agreement though, because that would make the tour incredibly attractive!

    • Cole Burmester

      June 26, 2012 at 2:23 PM

      Hands down best sandwich in Rome. And if they sorted out the queue then they would be sorted! The guide reckoned that was one of the worst waits though and it was only 20 mins.

  8. Caz Makepeace

    June 26, 2012 at 10:54 AM

    Sounds like a great tour and a really decent price. I enjoyed visiting the Vatican independently but would have loved a tour to learn more

    • Cole Burmester

      June 26, 2012 at 2:32 PM

      We wish we had a chance to explore the Vatican by ourselves for an hour but were completely buggered by the end of it.

  9. T.W. Anderson @ Marginal Boundaries

    June 26, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    I was there in 2009 and felt it was an over-touristified joke. Seeing some of the art was nice, and it was certainly a piece of history, but the €10 bottles of water and the packed-liked-sardines-into-a-can for 6 hours combined with the heat and the jostling and the tourists = I enjoyed the rest of Rome *far* more than I did the Vatican.

    That being said…seeing the ancient works of art and paintings did make the tour worth it for me, but it was certainly a once-in-a-lifetime thing. You couldn’t pay me enough to want to go through those 6 hours of hellish sweating and heat and various body odors from thousands of sweating tourists ever again.

  10. Bret@ Green Global Travel

    June 27, 2012 at 1:09 AM

    The only time I’ve ever been to Vatican City, I was performing there for Pope John Paul II. Ergo, no tour for me. But it sounds like guys had fun!

    • Cole Burmester

      June 30, 2012 at 8:06 AM

      You performed for the Pope? Now that is one story I want to hear 🙂

  11. Ali

    June 29, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    Sounds like a good tour. The last time I was there was 1999, so I’m definitely due for a return visit. I think I’ll avoid the height of summer heat though!

    • Cole Burmester

      June 30, 2012 at 8:20 AM

      We have been here for 3 weeks and I thought I would get used to the heat but it is unbearable in the middle of the day!

  12. Christy @ Technosyncratic

    June 29, 2012 at 8:03 PM

    Wow, that price is SO CHEAP for a six hour tour! And it sounds funny and engaging, which shouldn’t be unique for walking tours but somehow still is… We need to head back to Italy so we can check this out.

    • Cole Burmester

      June 30, 2012 at 8:25 AM

      Its a bargain and a half! We have found some incredibly boring tours when travelling through Europe so this was perfect for us as it was anything but boring.

  13. D.J. - The World of Deej

    July 1, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    Sounds like an awesome day and a great tour!

    • Cole Burmester

      July 2, 2012 at 4:17 PM

      Probably the best walking tour we have been on in Europe so far which says a lot!

  14. Nomadic Samuel

    July 2, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    This is kind of off topic but I can’t stop thinking about the sandwich! It’s been ages since I’ve had something that looks that good 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      July 2, 2012 at 4:23 PM

      Haha totally not off topic and would recommend you go on the tour just for the sandwich Sam 🙂

  15. Rome(ing) Tours

    July 3, 2012 at 9:38 AM

    Thanks guys for coming along on the tour and we are glad you enjoyed it. Come back anytime. Just a quick note, we hardly ever stand in line over the course of the year, and you guys unfortunately had to join on a particularly busy day.

    • Cole Burmester

      July 3, 2012 at 6:59 PM

      It was unfortunate timing but that’s the way it is sometimes. Hopefully we will join you in another week or so on another tour when we are back in Rome for 2 days. And thanks again guys!

  16. Mary @ Green Global Travel

    August 18, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    After Bret’s very personal experience of singing for Pope John Paul II in the Vatican as part of the Atlanta Boy Choir, I don’t think we’ll ever go back. That’s too perfect of a memory to mess with!

    • Cole Burmester

      August 19, 2012 at 9:58 AM

      That would be a pretty special moment I imagine! I always worry about returning to places we have been as you know it just won’t be the same as previous trips.

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Adventure Travel

Walking the Camino de Santiago Photos

These are my favourite Camino de Santiago Photos from my pilgrimage along the French Way in March. A truly beautiful way to spend a few weeks.

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Puenta La Reina Bridge Camino Arrow

El Camino de Santiago kicked my ass. Well technically it kicked my feet. Turns out my minimal preparation for the Camino de Santiago was terrible. After a miserable effort of only 4 days, the doctor in Legrono told me that I wasn’t allowed to go on until me feet healed. I had walked just over 100 km’s and my feet were bloodied and blistered.

To be honest, I was relieved.

The thought of putting back on my shoes made my shudder. For the last 9 km’s I had stumbled along in jandals and socks. One of the travelling fashion sins I vowed I would never break.

Jandals on the Camino de Santiago

Jandals on the Camino de Santiago

So while I have unfinished business with the Way of St James (an upcoming post), I did want to share with you some of my favourite photos from the Camino de Santiago. Because I had yet to reach some of the more “unsavoury” parts of the Camino that Sherry Ott had discovered, every step of my pilgrimage had been beautiful.

Puenta La Reina Bridge Camino Arrow

Puenta La Reina Bridge – Camino de Santiago Arrows

There is no way you can get lost on the Camino de Santiago. Arrows, scallop shells and signs point you in the right direction at every bridge, road crossing and intersection.

Camino de Santiago Scallop Shell

Camino de Santiago Scallop Shell

Reaching the top of Alto Pedron gave views back the way I had come from Pamplona, as well as views to where I was going. The rocky path on the way down proved to be my ultimate downfall, as my too small shoes caused my toes to smash into the front.

Alto del Pedron Camino de Santiago

Alto del Pedron Camino de Santiago

Metal Pilgrims on Alto del Pedron

Metal Pilgrims on Alto del Pedron

There were so many beautiful old churches along the Camino de Santiago. But since I was walking in early March, it seemed that most were yet to open for the busier summer season.

Church of Obanos

The Church of Obanos

And between every small village the well-maintained pathways of the French Way wound across the spectacular Spanish countryside.

The French Way - Camino de Santiago

The French Way – Camino de Santiago Photos

Puenta La Reina

Puenta La Reina in the evening

Puenta La Reina has one of the most amazing bridges I have ever seen. It was also the 1st village I had the pleasure of sleeping in after busy Pamplona.

Puenta la Reina Bridge and Sunrise

Puenta la Reina Bridge at sunrise

Most mornings I was up and walking before the sun began to sprinkle across the horizon.

Spring flowers on the Camino de Santiago

Spring flowers on the Camino de Santiago

Pilgrims approaching Cirauqui, Spain

Pilgrims approaching Cirauqui, Spain

Every village and town was built on a small hill. Sure it looks beautiful until you realise you have to go back up again to go through them all!

Church of Santa Maria - Los Arcos

Church of Santa Maria in Los Arcos

While there were only about 20 pilgrims walking each section every day, it wasn’t uncommon for you to encounter them all. The people I met along the Camino de Santiago were some of the most inspiring and remarkable people I have ever spoken to. They are the ones that make the pilrgimage so special.

The endless French Way

The endless French Way

Irache Wine Fountain - Fuente del Vino

The free flowing Irache Wine Fountain or “Fuente del Vino”

Hay bales along the French Way

Hay bales along the French Way

Every village had at least one ancient church and it wasn’t uncommon to find them dotting the landscape in remote locations either.

Ermita de San Miguel

Ermita de San Miguel

Iglesia de San Andrés de Zariquiegui Church

Iglesia de San Andrés de Zariquiegui Church

I have travelled through Spain in the past, including cycling in Costa Brava and surfing in San Sebastian with both independent planning and a vacation planner. But having the opportunity to walk at my own pace through some of the most beautiful scenery in Spain on the Camino de Santiago has so far topped them all.

Natural arches - Camino de Santiago

Natural arches on the Camino de Santiago

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Adventure Travel

Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel

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Trekking through the valleys of Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys with Middle Earth Travel feels more like the set of a Star Wars movie than a historical region once carved out and lived in by humans. Churches, homes and pigeon houses are scattered throughout the valleys, all waiting to be explored. The best part is, Middle Earth Travel know all the hidden secrets.

Standing at the top of Cappadocia

Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel

On the 26th of July (which just so happens to be my birthday!) Middle Earth Travel took us on their private and guided Top of Cappadocia day trek. From Pasabag, along the top of Cappadocia and down through the Gulludere Rose Valley to Goreme, we trekked 15kms in one day! (We recommend getting your bearings with this map)

Upon arrival to the Middle Earth Offices, we were warmly greeted by our new friend Atil whom we had met a few days earlier while mountain biking through the Kizilcukur Red Valley. We were then introduced to our guide and given a briefing regarding the day. Normally, the Top of Cappadocia tour would start from Çavuşin, however, since we had already explored Çavuşin Castle, they adapted our tour to compensate ensuring we would explore new terrain!

With charged cameras, plenty of water and our running shoes on, we were driven to our starting point of Pasabag. We wandered through the fairy chimneys, coming across camels and markets – then the true hike began.

Pasabag in Cappadocia

The police station in Pasabag, Cappadocia

Camel in Pasabag, Cappadocia

Camel in Pasabag, Cappadocia

It was a slow and gentle incline. With no trees to provide shade, I quickly realised why our tour guide had chosen to wear fully covered clothing! As the sweat quickly set in (a waterfall in Moss’s case) we snapped away with our cameras and enjoyed the entertaining shapes of Imagine Valley and the amazing view. We also passed a lot of rock piles, which according to our guide mean ‘father’ and are built to help lead the way.

Animal shaped formations in Imagine Valley

Animal shaped formations in Imagine Valley

Middle Earth Travel, Cappadocia

Making our way to the top of Cappadocia

Father leading the way (rock pile)

Father leading the way (rock pile)

The higher we trekked, the more breath taking the views became! As we walked along the summit of Bozdag mountain (the Top of Cappadocia) we could see EVERTHING – Pasabag, Çavuşin Castle, Kizilcukur Red Valley, Gulludere Rose Valley and Goreme. We were on the Father of Valleys! After a quick nod of agreement to the guide, we pushed ourselves the extra distance and made our way to the flag, as this HAD to be the highest point and was definitely worth a photo and a selfie or two!

View from the top of Cappadocia

View from the top of Cappadocia

Flag at top of Cappadocia

From the flag we looked down upon Aktepe Hill which is known as a popular destination for watching the sun set and could spot Kizilvadi Restaurant, our destination for lunch! Kizilvadi Restaurant is an attraction of its own. With its own historic winery and Grape church, plus some Middle Earth Travel treks even stay there for the night! After having a massive feed of soup, salad and pasta plus a surprise birthday cake, we made our way down into Gulludere Rose Valley.

Kizilvadi Restaurant

Kizilvadi Restaurant

The scenery is amazing, with strong colours visible in perfect layers on the chimneys, you would wonder what an artist was thinking, had it been a painting. Also, hidden to the side of the track we walked across a little bridge and not expecting anything to be there we were wowed by the massive church carved. It was absolutely huge and hard to believe that its most recent use has been as a pigeon house!

Coloured chimneys in Cappadocia

Coloured chimneys in Cappadocia

Pigeon houses in Cappadocia

Pigeon houses in Cappadocia

Church in Gulludere Rose Valley

Hard to believe this Church is carved inside a fairy chimney!

Middle Earth Travel Review

  • The team at Middle Earth Travel were extremely knowledgeable and certainly know Cappadocia’s hidden secrets. They have friendships with local tea garden owners which is also of benefit as it gained us entry to locked churches and hidden rooms that we would not have otherwise seen.
  • We covered a lot of ground, however we did not feel rushed. The whole day focused on showing us the region, therefore we had as much time as we needed to explore each church and to take ‘just one more photo’.
  • It wasn’t all about trekking. With a whole day and 15kms to cover, there were a few silly poses (especially in Imagine Valley), and we learnt a lot about the myths, legends and way of life in Cappadocia.
  • In conclusion I highly recommend Middle Earth Travel if you wish to go trekking or mountain biking in Cappadocia.
  • Cost: Day treks with Middle Earth Travel range from 50-90 euro, depending on the number of people taking part. This includes lunch, guide, vehicle transfers and entrance fees to historical sites, but excludes alcoholic and soft drinks.
  • Middle Earth Travel are outdoor enthusiasts and offer multi-day over night treks, mountain biking, abseiling, or custom made itineraries, in multiple regions throughout Turkey.
  • www.middleearthtravel.com

Disclaimer: We were provided with a discount for the trek with Middle Earth Travel, however, as always our thoughts on our adventure travel blog our own.

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Europe

Amsterdam Food Guide

If you think of Amsterdam you don’t think of food. However if you try the food here in our Amsterdam food guide you might get lucky.

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Amsterdam Food Waffles

We are total foodies and our travelling has allowed our passion for food to grow considerably (not to mention our waist lines)!  We love trying new food when we visit foreign countries and always make a huge effort to eat the local cuisine. Check out some of the food we ate below in our cheap and delicious Amsterdam Food Guide.

Amsterdam Food Waffles

We had heard from a number of people that the Amsterdam food was nothing to rave about. To be honest food was not really our main interest in visiting but then again neither was an Amsterdam Peep show and we ended up enjoying that!

However we were pleasantly surprised. I think the people whom we had talked to had it wrong. Sure Holland doesn’t really have a local cuisine but once we got over this fact we realised there is still some damn good food to be had from the various Amsterdam Restaurants.

Amsterdam Food

The best meal we had was actually next door to the Red Light district in Chinatown. Crossing the canal to the east away from the neon lights your nostrils are attacked and your mouth begins salivating from the delicious smells wafting along the narrow cobbled streets.

As we walked into Bird Thai restaurant the enticing aroma hit us instantly leaving us drooling in anticipation. It was definitely up there with some of the best Thai food we have had. We went for the classic Green curry, fried rice and duck combo.

The Green curry was so flavoursome with the richness of the coconut milk blending perfectly with the traditional spices.  The duck was cooked to perfection and for the first few minutes of the meal all you could hear was the crunching of the crispy outside layer as we devoured the duck in minutes. Needless to say the fried rice was a taste explosion too!

Cheap and delicious Amsterdam food is easy to come by. With hangovers and munchies affecting your hunger it is no surprise that there are an abundance of Fast Food chains and takeaways in Amsterdam. In fact it was actually more the way that the fast food was served that surprised us as you could buy it out of massive vending machines at Febo!

Amsterdam Food Febo

Hidden workers stand behind the vending machines churning out burgers, fries and sausage rolls so all you has to do is insert a Euro and “hey presto” you have a hot meal in your hungry hands.

Then there were the frites stores which seemed to be on every corner. The first thing you noticed about these was the tantalising smell. There is nothing like the smell of chips straight out of the fryer and covered in salt to get you tummy rumbling. Served in a triangle cardboard carton and covered in mayo which meant that that you couldn’t reach the chips at the bottom without covering your greedy fingers in sauce. Just a tad annoying!

But there is nothing like hot chips to warm you up on a cold day.

Finally, while hot chocolates are not typically food I feel they still deserve a mention especially because the usually come paired with waffles! Ahhhh the perfect breakfast.

Amsterdam Hot Chocolate

We loved nipping into a cafe or bar like Cafe Bar Eddy in Amsterdam to warm ourselves up with a hot chocolate. It literally tasted like they had melted chocolate down and added cream. Heaven in a cup. And the choice of waffles was daunting as you could have whatever you wanted. Fruit, chocolate, syrups, cream or all of the above!

If you are heading here then don’t expect to find an array of traditional Amsterdam food. Instead treat yourself to a hot chocolate and waffle for breakfast, grab a quick bite from a vending machine and sample some of the different cuisines found near the Red Light District.

If you stick to this Amsterdam food guide then your taste buds will have a great holiday too!

If you have visited before then what did you think of Amsterdam food?

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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