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Price from £1,880pp
VISITING: Finland BROCHURE CODE: 21002
All prices include: flights, transfers, accommodation, meals, guided activities and cold weather clothing; all as listed.
Situated in an untouched snowy wilderness, Menesjärvi is your guaranteed white Christmas. What’s more, this four-night break includes incredible winter activities and dedicated Aurora hunts to make this a holiday to remember.

What's included?

ALL OF THE ACTIVITIES AND SERVICES LISTED BELOW ARE INCLUDED IN THE HOLIDAY PRICE

  • Flights: return flights from London to Ivalo via Helsinki (flight routes are subject to change)
  • Transfers: return group airport transfers
  • Accommodation: 4 nights in twin/double hotel rooms
  • Meals: 4 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 4 dinners
  • The following activities and equipment are included in the price: snowmobile safari and ice fishing, Aurora workshop and Aurora snowshoeing, morning with a reindeer herder, Christmas Aurora dinner, husky safari, visit to the Sámi Siida Museum, Aurora snowmobile safari (the order of activities is subject to change)
  • Cold weather clothing is provided for the duration of your stay
  • Free use of snowshoes, cross-country skis, kicksleds and toboggans
  • Services of our expert local guides

This very special version of our ever popular four-night 'Wilderness Auroras' holiday allows you to spend your Christmas in one of the most remote regions of Finland. With its array of outstanding activities and stunning setting, Menesjärvi is the perfect location for a festive adventure.

You will stay at the Hotel Korpikartano, deep in the Lapland wilderness and far from the madding crowds that can take over some areas at this time of year.

The characterful accommodation and your delightful hosts, Anne and Timo, offer a warm welcome and a variety of festivities to ensure a wonderful Christmas. Furthermore, with its almost total lack of light pollution and unobstructed views of the night sky from the lake, Menesjärvi offers the potential to view the Northern Lights at their spectacular best.

The highlights of this festive trip include a morning with a reindeer herder, where you will gain a valuable insight into one of the most important occupations in Lapland. You will also get to meet these iconic animals which are synonymous with both Christmas and the Arctic.

This Christmas Aurora holiday will also see you being pulled by a team of eager dogs across the snow-laden landscape and zipping across frozen lakes on a snowmobile.

Whilst we have described this as an active holiday there is also time available for guests to relax and enjoy some time at leisure. Additional activities can also be arranged for those who wish to continue to explore the Great Outdoors. Alternatively, you can take advantage of the snowshoe and cross-country ski equipment which is yours to borrow throughout your holiday.

Some evenings will be spent seeking out the Aurora on a Northern Lights snowmobile safari and during an Aurora snowshoe hunt. The beauty of Menesjärvi is that on many occasions the lake in front of the hotel offers some of the best views of the Northern Lights - ideal for those late-night displays when guests can be found on the lake wearing their pyjamas under their layers and outdoor thermal suits!

There will be some families staying at the hotel during this period, but this is far removed from the Santa crowds and all outdoor activities are operated for those aged 15 years or older.

We love this location for the sense of peace and space that it offers and for allowing you to gain a real insight into the lives of the people of Lapland. Menesjärvi really is in the middle of nowhere. If you are looking for something a bit different this Christmas and wish to gain an absolute sense of escapism, then look no further.


Image credits: Timo Halonen
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Key facts

Duration:4 nights
Pace:Active
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  • Upon arrival in Lapland, you will be greeted and transferred to the small community of Menesjärvi. 

    You will check into your room and dinner will be served in the hotel restaurant. Afterwards, you will be given cold weather clothing that will be yours for the duration of your stay.

    You may wish to wander down to the vast frozen lake. This is the ideal vantage point to stare up at the Arctic sky and await a potential Northern Lights viewing. With any luck, the Aurora will welcome you to Lapland.

  • Today, you will get to try two of the region’s most popular pastimes as you travel on snowmobiles to try your hand at ice fishing. Your guide will provide full instruction on how to drive a snowmobile and there will be a safety briefing before departure. You will travel two people per machine and there will be the chance to swap drivers after fishing (you must be over 18 and hold a full driving license to drive a snowmobile).  It is also possible to upgrade and ride one person per snowmobile for an uninterrupted driving experience – see the ‘Personalise’ section for details.

    From the hotel, you will travel along the trails and across the local lake to a spot which is ideal for ice fishing.

    You will be shown how to drill a hole through the layer of thick ice over the water before dropping in a fishing line and waiting for a bite. The fun is in the anticipation – even if you are not lucky enough to make a catch, it is still a relaxing way to spend time in stunning surroundings.

    Lunch will be served in the restaurant back at the hotel, and you’ll have the afternoon free to unwind or explore independently. The hotel offers free use of cross-country skiing and snowshoe equipment as well as kick sleds and toboggans. Maps are available from reception and you should check the trail conditions and weather before you leave. There are some stunning trails to enjoy locally.

    After dinner, you will be given an introduction to the Northern Lights with a science and photography workshop. Your host will be one of the expert local guides, who are enthusiastic and skilled photographers. They will talk you about the science behind the Aurora before advising on how best to photograph the lights.

    Following on from this introduction you will head out with your guide for a journey into the night as you search for the Aurora on snowshoes. Hopefully, a stunning display will bring the evening to a close, giving you the chance to put your new photography skills into practice. You will need to bring your own camera equipment. There are a few tripods which can be borrowed from reception.

  • Today is Christmas Eve and Finns traditionally celebrate Christmas on the 24th December so guests can expect a festive day. Following breakfast, you will get to encounter the most Christmassy of all creatures in their natural habitat as you spend the morning with Petri, a local reindeer herder who has been featured on BBC documentaries about the Sami people.

    Upon arrival at Petri’s house, he will greet you before leading you out via snowmobile-pulled sleigh to search for his herd. He will then call the reindeer in, which is a remarkable sight to see – more and more will appear through the trees. You will then have the opportunity to feed the animals and take some photos. He will light a campfire and you will be able to enjoy hot drinks and ask any questions you may have. This is not a typical tourist excursion but a unique experience where you get to join a herder going about their daily work. The final order of your activities is always subject to change and will be confirmed on your arrival in Finland, Petri always puts his reindeer first and so if his workload dictates he may change the day.

    Following lunch, you will have some free time to once again enjoy the snowshoes or cross-country skis which are available to borrow from the hotel. There is also a special session of guided cross-country skiing which can be added to your holiday – see the ‘Personalise’ section for more details. Of course, you might prefer to stay in and relax in one of the hotel saunas. You can also join other guests and take part in some festive baking. Cinnamon cookies are a Finnish favourite and they will certainly get you into the Christmas spirit.

    During the evening you will enjoy a special festive Aurora dinner, cooked on an open-fire in one of the hotel’s traditional kotas (wooden tepees). Make sure to venture outside and see if you can spot any flickers of colour in the sky from the wonderful vantage point of the lake. You can also book a Northern Lights snowshoeing hunt to finish your holiday, which can be found in the ‘Personalise' section. Who knows? You might even capture a reindeer-pulled sleigh rocketing across the sky.

  • Following breakfast, at the hotel restaurant, you will take part in one of the most popular winter activities: an incredible husky safari.

    You will receive full instructions before you travel two people per sled with your own dog team for a safari lasting around two and a half hours. Traversing the landscape in this time-honoured fashion is always one of our guests' most beloved experiences. The dogs love nothing more than to pull a sled and they always make this known with their boundless enthusiasm. It is a remarkably quiet activity once the dogs are over their initial excitement, which gives you ample opportunity to appreciate the peaceful serenity of your surroundings.

    Following the husky safari, you will then take a transfer to Inari where you will visit the Sámi Siida Museum and the Northern Lapland Nature Centre. The Sámi are the indigenous people of Lapland and their culture is both fascinating and unusual. They have thrived north of the Arctic Circle for generations and the colourful museum will give you an insight into this lifestyle. There is also a Northern Lights film showcasing images of some fantastic displays witnessed in Northern Finland. Lunch will be enjoyed in Inari village and you will then be transferred back to Menesjärvi.

    After your final dinner at the hotel this evening, you will be back out on your Aurora quest, this time using snowmobiles to track down a possible display. Your guide will use their experience to lead you on the most suitable trails to the most promising viewpoints for potential sightings. Driving the snowmobiles at night is a totally different experience, with your headlights illuminating the wilderness as you search for the Northern Lights. Once again, you will travel two people per snowmobile and there will be the chance to alternate drivers (if you both have driving licences). As before, you can also upgrade to drive one person per snowmobile – see the ‘Personalise’ section for more details.

  • After breakfast, you will leave behind this winter wonderland and return home with a head full of wonderful Christmas memories.

Included in price

Hotel Korpikartano

Nights: 1-4

Hotel Korpikartano is a very special place in a breath-taking location in Finnish Lapland. Its situation could not be more idyllic, with a fantastic outlook over Lake Menesjärvi and the remote wilderness beyond. The lack of artificial light in the area ensures that if the Aurora appears, then you can enjoy amazing displays from very close to the hotel.

Hotel Korpikartano was originally a boarding school for those growing up in this remote part of the world and is, therefore, full of quirks, character and charm. The welcome provided by the owners, Anne and Timo (Timo is retired but still makes regular appearances to take Aurora photos here), creates a wonderful atmosphere and their passion for the region is infectious.

The staff and guides have a huge passion for this landscape and for providing guests with a truly memorable stay.

The hotel comprises of two main buildings. The first houses the dining room and a number of bedrooms. A separate annexe building (a very short walk away) houses the majority of the guest accommodation.

It is a place with great soul and which offers guests the chance to completely switch off from the everyday and relax in a wild and beautiful environment. You are likely to leave feeling very privileged to have experienced this wonderful place. 

Hotel facilities

  • Traditional home cooking is the order of the day in the hotel’s dining room. The food can be described as 'simple, tasty and hearty' and is very much designed to fuel you up for your outdoor adventures. In many cases, the evening’s set menu will contain local ingredients such as fresh fish that Timo has caught, berries Anne has foraged, or meat purchased from the local reindeer herders. The set meals are all self-service. Breakfast is a buffet of breads, meat, cheese and fish with the addition of porridge and fruit. Lunch and evening meals start with a salad and bread, a set main and then a pudding which is often a local speciality. Please let us know at the time of booking if you have any dietary requirements so these can be accommodated.
  • You can also purchase a range of wine, beer and spirits to accompany your meal.
  • Obviously, saunas are a pre-requisite in these parts and there are two, one in each building. They can each be booked privately by guests each day in hour long slots.
  • There is an outdoor wood-burning sauna and rustic hot tub. Should you request the use of the outdoor sauna (a local charge will apply), don't forget that a dip in the lake (in autumn) or a roll in the snow (in winter) is almost obligatory (as long as you are in a good physical condition).
  • The simple lounge (near the reception) provides tea and coffee making facilities. Consider this to be the perfect spot to relax by the stove with a book but remember to keep your eyes peeled for the Northern Lights as the windows face north!
  • There is free Wi-Fi for guests to use throughout both buildings and there is a PC available at reception.
  • Books and games are also available to borrow from reception.
  • If you are travelling in the winter then the hotel offers free use of snowshoes, cross-country skis, kick sleds and toboggans so there is also something for those who love the great outdoors and want to explore independently between activities. There are marked trails across the stunning frozen lake and maps are available at reception.
  • If you want to send a memento home, then there are postcards available to purchase and some of Timo’s Aurora photography is for sale. Anne also knits cosy woollen socks for charity and these can usually be purchased at reception.
  • There is a lakeside Kota (wooden tepee) which is open for all guests during the evening. Here you can light a fire and warm up in between forays out onto the lake in search of the Northern Lights.

Room types

The 28 guest bedrooms vary in size and shape as you may expect from a former school. They are cosy, comfortable and decorated with locally-sourced wood. Some of the furnishings have been crafted by Timo's own hand.

All guest bedrooms have an en-suite bathroom with shower and a hairdryer. Cups and kettles are provided in each bedroom and a variety of teas and coffee is available in each building for you to take to your room.


Image credit: Timo Halonen, Matt Robinson (please note: The images depicted show the hotel during both the winter and autumn months)

Personalise this tour


Our pick

Cross-country skiing

From £40pp

Cross-country skiing is remarkably good fun and is an efficient way to travel and explore the terrain surrounding the hotel. Gliding across a frozen lake or through a snow-laden forest helps you understand why people get addicted to this pastime. Your guide will give instructions and lead you through the forest on a short ski trip. The skis will then be yours for the remainder of the day should you wish to further enhance your skills. This is an excellent option for your first full day in Lapland.

Duration: 1 – 1.5 hrs (ski hire for the day)


Other options

Activities

Additional Aurora snowshoe session

From: £55pp

Wandering around on snowshoes is a classic way of getting around in Lapland, taking you into some truly quiet natural spaces. Why not add another to your holiday for an extra session of therapeutic walking, looking out to see if the Aurora are dancing in the skies above?

Duration: 2 hours

Image credit: Timo Halonen

Riding one person per snowmobile

From: £45pp

Driving a snowmobile over the open whiteness is utterly electrifying, so it is well worth upgrading to drive your own snowmobile for the whole activity, rather than going two per vehicle.

Price Comparison Guarantee

Expertise and knowledge are key to witnessing the Northern Lights. We’ve been running Aurora hunting holidays longer than any company in the UK and with no lead in prices, no hidden costs and more included, we’re confident our tours will come out on top.
Price guarantee

The single adult price is based on a single room but a shared transfer and snowmobile. If you would prefer to drive your own snowmobile please speak to our Travel Experts for the supplement.

Next season’s pre-sale dates and prices

To secure your holiday for next season, you can make a pre-sale booking and fix the price of your trip at the pre-sale price displayed below. Simply by paying an initial deposit of £50pp, you will protect yourself from any package price increases. The departure dates and itineraries remain preliminary and we will contact you when the final dates and itineraries are confirmed, you will then have 14 days to decide if you would like to go ahead. A further deposit payment of £350pp is due by 01 April 2019 or at the time of us confirming the trip details to you, whichever is sooner. If you decide not to travel, we will refund your full deposit payment. We reserve the right to charge supplements where there are significant changes to an itinerary or increases in flight costs. Any non-package rates remain subject to change.

Dates
Sat 21 Dec 2019
to Wed 25 Dec 2019
Enquire
Adults£ 1,880

Please note: our holiday prices are based on the lowest available airline fares. These fares can sell out quickly and, as a result, prices may increase and supplements may be applicable. We recommend booking at the earliest opportunity to secure the best possible fares and flight times.

For our full booking terms and conditions please click here

Holiday group size (approximate)

Minimum 2 people, maximum 24 people (approximately)

GROUP SIZE

We always try to provide an approximation of the group size you can expect to be with for the duration of each of our holidays. It may be that you are joined by others for parts of your holiday (such as transfers and particular activities) but the above number reflects those you can normally expect to be with from beginning to end. If group size is something which is particularly important to you, please speak to our Travel Experts and they can suggest the best holidays for you.

Tailor-made holiday group sizes will vary for all activities as will the group size for any additional activities you book.

MINIMUM NUMBERS REQUIRED FOR A HOLIDAY TO OPERATE

Some of our holidays require a minimum number of participants to operate (as listed in the ‘Group Size’ section). If your holiday departure has not yet reached the minimum number, you will be told at the time of booking. In the unlikely event that your chosen date is not guaranteed by nine weeks before your scheduled departure date, we will contact you to discuss the available options as per our booking conditions.

Itinerary amendments

The order of activities is always subject to change and guests will be provided with their final itinerary upon arrival.

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT

Please note that some of our holidays may incur a single supplement. Please speak to one of our Travel Experts who will provide you with a quotation.

Medical History and advice

We want our holidays to be accessible as they can be and will do our best to accommodate any special requests and requirements where possible. We have a wide range of holidays and destinations and so our travel experts will help find the best holiday for you.

In order to give us the best possible chance to do this we ask that if you or any member of your party has any medical condition or disability which may affect your holiday or has any special requirements, that you tell us at the time of enquiry or booking. You must also promptly advise us if any medical condition or disability which may affect your holiday develops after your booking has been confirmed. You may need to provide a doctor’s note and proof of insurance in some cases as the health and safety of our clients is absolutely paramount.

In providing this information you are allowing us to work with our expert local partners to ensure that your whole party can enjoy the holiday. By letting us know in advance we can discreetly work with you to adapt any part of the holiday which may potentially be challenging. Being able to prepare for this in advance makes an incredible difference to what we can offer and minimises any impact on your party and the rest of the group.

Unfortunately, if you choose not to share this information with us in advance then it may limit some or all of the itinerary you have booked, and we cannot be held accountable for any additional costs or missed activities resulting from this.

PREGNANCY

If you are pregnant at the time of booking your holiday or you discover you are pregnant prior to your departure, firstly – congratulations! Secondly – please tell us as soon as possible. This situation does arise, and we are able to advise you both from our own first-hand experience and from discussing this at length with our expert local partners who have experience in this area. The more notice you can give us the better, in order to suggest any adaptions to the itinerary you have booked which will reduce the risk to both mother and baby. Please contact our customer service team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

INSURANCE

Insurance is not included in your holiday, but it is a pre-requisite to travelling with us. You will need to ensure that you have cover for all the activities that you will be participating in during your holiday.

It is extremely important that you take out a suitable travel insurance policy at the time of booking. Plans do sometimes change, and you will need this policy should you need to cancel your holiday.

If you are struggling to find a suitable policy then details of our preferred provider, who will cover you for all the activities we offer, can be found on our website by clicking here. Please note that this policy is available to EU residents under the age of 75 only.

Reduced Mobility

If you have a reduced level of mobility, then please contact our travel experts to discuss the suitability of this holiday in relation to your requirements.

Experience and fitness

We offer a vast choice of holidays which range from 'relaxed' to 'active' so there really is something for everyone and our holidays can be filtered by how active they are. Regardless of the chosen holiday, all activities will include tuition from a beginner's level and no prior experience is assumed.

If you are unsure about the physical demands of a particular holiday please contact us and our expert team will be happy to help.

See our booking conditions for further information.

Guides and safety

It is absolutely essential when partaking in any activity that you listen very closely to, and abide by, the instructions provided.

If there is anything that you are unsure of during a safety briefing or that you would like to clarify with the guides please make this clear to them immediately before starting the activity.

Our guides' word on activities is always final and your safety is their principal concern at all times, please respect their decisions. By following their instructions, your safety and enjoyment during each activity will be greatly enhanced.

See our booking conditions for further information.

Booking activities locally

Additional activities can be booked locally in almost all our destinations. However, as per our booking conditions, we cannot be held responsible for any injury or loss incurred through participation in activities which are booked at your destination outside of our holiday itinerary (see our ‘Terms and Conditions’ for further details).

When arranging any such activity please always ensure that safety is your primary concern. In some of our destinations, you can borrow or hire equipment for use in your free time.

You do so entirely at your own risk. You must ensure that you are properly prepared, have the necessary equipment and knowledge (maps, etc) and ensure that where applicable, you follow marked routes. We recommend discussing your plans with the local teams who will be able to advise on the most suitable options for you.

Always let the reception/guide know where you are planning to go and take a torch and mobile phone (with the hotel/guide’s phone number stored). It is also a good idea to leave your contact number and the time you expect to return to the hotel should the hotel need to contact you.

Car Hire

If your trip includes car hire the named driver must have a credit card registered in their name which they can present when they collect their car along with their driving licence, as a deposit will be held on the credit card.  Please see your trip dossier for full details.

Our clients’ safety is at the centre of everything we do, and our operations team continually assesses and monitors the destinations we feature. We carry out thorough risk assessments and work closely with all of our suppliers to continually follow best practice. For up to date travel advice the UK government offers its Travel Aware website as well as the advice detailed below.

FLIGHT SCHEDULE CHANGES AND CONNECTING TRANSPORTATION

On your documentation, we will confirm your flight schedule. Sometimes the flight number, routing and timings might change prior to your departure. If the change is classed as a significant change then we will contact you to discuss this. Please see our booking conditions for details.

Flight schedule changes can impact on your pre and post-holiday travel arrangements if these have been booked separately to your holiday. We strongly recommend that you do not book transport (such as trains or transfers), car parking or non-connecting flights to the departure point for your holiday until you have received your final confirmed travel times when your final travel documents are issued. We are not responsible for the effect of any schedule change on your pre or post travel arrangements. We strongly recommend that you do not purchase non-flexible or non-refundable tickets to avoid cancellation and penalty charges.

BOOKING YOUR OWN FLIGHTS - CANCELLATION DISCLAIMER 

If you have chosen to book your own flights, then you will need to wait until we confirm to you that the holiday departure has met the minimum numbers required to run (if applicable to your chosen holiday). Once the holiday is guaranteed to run, you will be informed and you can then make your arrangements.

If transfers are included in your holiday, please ensure that any potential flights will be met by our standard transfers (speak to one of our Travel Experts for advice) otherwise private transfer supplements may be applicable. Once your flights are booked, please send us a copy of your detailed flight itinerary.

Please be aware that most tickets are non-refundable in the case of cancellation. For this reason, we strongly advise you check the rules of the ticket and check the limitations of your cancellation insurance before booking. We cannot be held liable, in the unlikely eventuality that we should be forced to cancel or amend your trip, for losses incurred relating to any flight booking you have made.

THE FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH OFFICE ADVICE

We receive all updates from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) with regards to travel advice and we always ensure that we follow this advice in our operations. The FCO issues travel advisories for countries based on a very wide range of factors. They may provide notification about things as simple as a football match and crowds, or they may go so far as to advise against all travel to a region. We ask all our clients to refer to the relevant Travel Advice by Country for the destinations they are visiting in order to make an informed decision on the safety of the destination based on the details provided. It also provides vital information regarding entry requirements, embassy information, local laws and customs as well as specific safety and health. Guests should take responsibility for keeping themselves up to date with this advice. Please also ensure that, if you are transiting through another country, you have read the advice and meet the entry requirements for that destination too.

The FCO travel advice is applicable to British Passport Holders. Most governments will issue their own travel advice for a region and, if you are not a UK resident then you can find some helpful links below:

Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/                                                    New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/                                                  Canadian Consular Affairs Bureau http://voyage.gc.ca/                                                                                                      The U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs http://travel.state.gov/content/travel/english.html

If the FCO deems that there is an unacceptable level of risk for UK citizens then, together with the government, they may issue an advisory against all travel to a region or country. If such an advisory is published, then we will act accordingly, and this may require the cancellation, curtailment or amendment of a holiday itinerary. These decisions are made on the basis of ensuring our clients’ safety and will affect all clients on the holiday, regardless of their nationality.

If one of our local experts suggests an amendment due to a situation which develops locally then we may also take the decision to amend an itinerary appropriately.

If we have to cancel your holiday prior to departure you will be offered the option of an alternative trip (where any price difference will either be refunded to or covered by you) or a full refund of the monies paid.

If we have to curtail a holiday, then you will be refunded for any costs for the elements we have been unable to deliver, where we have been able to secure a refund from our suppliers. If we must reroute a holiday, then any basis for refund is determined on a case by case basis and dependent on whether the central holiday experience was provided or not.

Minimum age

The minimum age for participation in our itinerary is 15 years old, however, for some activities and transfers, you may be joined by other guests and this may include some of a younger age than stated. Any younger participants will be fully supervised and the guides will ensure that their participation takes place only if the activities will be unaffected.

Very few hotels have a minimum age and there may be families staying at them with younger children, especially during the holiday periods. We do have some itineraries and destinations which are guaranteed to be adult-only, so if this is important to you please speak to one of our Travel Experts.

To drive a snowmobile you must have a full driving licence and be over 18 years old.

Traveller Reviews

The whole trip start to finish exceeded our expectations 23 December 2018 by The Bould Family

The whole trip start to finish exceeded our expectations everyone was friendly, helpful and obviously cared that you were looked after. Bar, the food options, the hotel, rooms and overall location was second to none.

Fantastic holiday 05 January 2015 by The Swinyard Family

Hosts and guides were warm and helpful, activities challenging and exhilarating. Other guests really nice and mixed, making for 'house party' feel to holiday - expected Hercule Poirot to appear at any time! The husky sledging and snowmobiling were both fantastic fun - new skills that allowed us out into the silent snowy wilderness - real one-off experiences.



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