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Currently viewing the category: "2013 – Celebrity Silhouette – Italy & Croatia, 19 Jul to 31 Jul"

A short post this morning before we disembark for the journey home. Having said good bye to our waiters last night we made our way up to deck 14 for one final stroll round the top of the ship.

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Lots of activity this morning with fork lifts flying all over the place busy unloading all the cases. It is a much more hectic scene than that of yesterday. We need to be in the theatre at 9:30 for our disembarking and if all goes to plan we will have a taxi waiting at 10:00 to take us to the airport for the flight home via Brussels.

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Roll on December…………

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Having sailed in and out of Venice on two previous occasions we had a good idea of what to expect and see. What we didn’t anticipate was the delay of about an hour to allow the Royal Princess to come out and give us a enough room to go in.

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Royal Princess leaving Venice

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Start of the sail into Venice

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The Tug waits for us

The sail into Venice has to be one of the cruising worlds best and despite having already got 2 sets of photos already it is still impossible to resist not to taking any more.

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Venice from the ship

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Entrance to the Grand Canal Venice

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Venice Cruise Terminal

Arrival at the terminal was due to be at 10:00am and we eventually arrived at 11:00 with apologies from the Captain. We are not disembarking today and will overnight in Venice and then get off tomorrow morning. Having been here twice and also spending a night here prior to the cruise we decided to stay on board and enjoy the ships facilities for one last day. What would we do if we went ashore? Answer; nothing we hadn’t already seen and done. In two days time we will be back at work so the eventual decision made the most sense to us.

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The moon from the poolside

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Me in the pool

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Virtually deserted ship around lunch time

After an exhausting morning sitting by the pool we forced ourselves to go and have some lunch where again the buffet was deserted.  I have no idea who they were expecting to eat all the food, perhaps my reputation proceeds me?

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Celebrity Silhouette's Oceanview Cafe

We sat out on the open terrace area and enjoyed the views over the lagoon while eating our last lunch on the ship. The rest of the afternoon was spend back beside the pool getting in and out of it every 20 minutes or so to cool off. 

It just remains now to pack and go to dinner and have our cases out before 11:00. Its always the worst time on any cruise and it doesn’t get any easier.

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Split was our last port before returning to Venice and once again we were using the lifeboats as tenders. We had nothing major planned other than going ashore for a stroll and to see what was there. We caught the tender at 10:10 and headed for the shore, just after we left the ship we heard over the radio that we had 92 passengers onboard. Very surprising as it didn’t seem as many as that at all.
The trip took around 15 minutes and I was again surprised at how well the lifeboats handled and how fast they went plus they even have air conditioning! There was also the option to sit up top which we did on the way back. Here are a couple of photos of the interior while on our way to Split.

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Celebrity Silhouette Lifeboat Interior

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Celebrity Silhouette Lifeboat Interior

Once ashore we headed towards the medieval old town of Split. Croatia is still using the Kuna and many of the shops and stores here would only take it as currency. We decided only to exchange some if we saw anything that was a must do or buy. You don’t really want to end up with loads of foreign currency which is going to be obsolete if you can help it. Sadly for the local traders we took everything back to the ship with us. 

As a matter of interest the main excursion that the ship was selling was to the Krka National Park.

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Outside the walled city

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Temple of Jupiter and Mausoleum of Diocletian

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Cafes and Bars inside the walled city

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Market stalls selling all sorts of produce.

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Narrow passages and tourist shops

Not unlike Dubrovnik or Kotor, Split has an area which is just loads of narrow passage ways and gift shops and bars and after about an hour and a half I am sorry to say that we decided that we had seen enough of this sort of thing on this cruise. We managed to find a few items that were of interest and had this been the first port with this kind of layout then it may have held more in interest.

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Outside the Golden Gate

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Tourist shops in Split

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One of Splits narrow passages

For the trip back to the ship we used lifeboat number 12 and sat up top which provided a welcome breeze.

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Boarding the tender for the trip back

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Making our way back to the ship

I don’t want to put Split down but this was one walled medieval town too many for us. It is at the end of a cruise and we are just now wanting to enjoy the weather and the ships facilities so like many others we returned to the ship and sat by the pool and soaked up the sun.  Would I get off here again? Ask me again if I ever come back as of right now the answer would probably be no.

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Split, Croatia from the ship

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One of the last tenders back

Next stop our sail into Venice and we will be able to see it all from our balcony. We might even push the boat out and enjoy our breakfast while doing so.

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We were up early this morning for the sail into the natural harbour where Kotor lies. Absolutely stunning views for the passage which started at 6:00 and ended with us anchoring at just before 7:45. The echo of the sound of anchor being dropped seemed to go for miles and we wondered what it was to start with.
I must have taken well over 100 photos just on the way in so the problem I have is being able to select some of the best to upload here. It really is a beautiful sail in to Kotor and I am glad we got up earlier than usual to see it. 

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Entering the Gulf of Kotor

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Approaching Kotor Ban

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Preparing the lifeboats as tenders

Early tendering was by a numbering system and once the rush had died down it reverted to an open system. We ate breakfast and when everything seemed to have calmed we made our way to the theatre to get our tender tickets which were numbered 28 and we must have timed it just right as we had very little time to wait and were soon making our way to the shore.

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Leaving the ship

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Celebrity Silhouette anchored at Kotor

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Quay side at Kotor

Upon arrival we followed the rest of the passengers to the gates of the old fortified town of Kotor where we passed through the gates into the picturesque town behind.

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Entrance to the walled town

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One of many picturesque Kotor street scenes

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Picturesque Kotor with the mountains behind

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More of Kotor

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The Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas

Mass was just ending in the Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas and the choir were still in full swing when we arrived, it sounded amazing and I heard a guide telling his flock that this choir was one of the oldest in the area.

We spent the next couple of hours wandering round and exploring the narrow passage ways and alleys, stopping briefly for some local beer and a coffee.

Today it has been very hot and not ideal for wandering or touring and so when we had seen enough to satisfy our needs we made our way back to the ship and headed straight for the pool to cool off.

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Kotor from the ship

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Poolside with the mountains of Kotor behind

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Celebrity Navigation Channel in Kotor

Back on the ship and in the cabin we looked at Celebrity Navigation Channel to see that the temperature was 37C/99F today and with no breeze it felt even hotter. It was too much for me and so we came back to the cabin where I could stay in the air conditioned cabin and Nicole could sit on our balcony and enjoy the sun but after a while it was even too hot for her and she too came in.

Tonight is the third and final formal night and we will be putting our glad rags on for the last time this cruise. Our waiter Apong, has told us that lobster will be on the menu tonight so I know what I will be having.

Slots Payout this cruise $324,840.88

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Last night was apparently the Celebrity Silhouette’s 2 birthday and to mark the event they had a cake with candles. It was quite amusing that the candles were not able to be lit due to the drafty open deck but the Captain surrounded by his senior offices did manage to cut the cake without too much of a problem.

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Captain cuts the ships 2nd birthday cake

All this was done shortly before some open air entertainment on the pool deck. Something called Celebrity Rox which involved the house band and production team doing some music and dance alfresco. We didn’t hang around too long to watch as it nothing like we had hoped it would be.

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Celebrity Rox

 
I did get a nice photo of the moon last night.

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Mediterranean Moon

Nothing really significant to report today other than it has been a beautiful day and that we have spent it lying in the sun up on the Solstice Deck. We were up at 7:00 and enjoyed a coffee on the balcony before going to breakfast at 8:00. The only other break we had was to have some lunch and for that we used up my Bistro on 5 birthday voucher. Very nice it was too.

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Virtually deserted Oceanview Cafe for breakfast

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A beautiful sea day

Tomorrow we are in Kotor and will be sailing in at around 6:45 for what the Captain described as a beautiful natural harbour. Everyone going ashore will be tendered.

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A completely different panorama for our sail into Valletta and with the sun just up and it was already starting to feel very warm. There were some quite spectacular colours being provided from the old fortified walls of Valletta.
I can fully understand why some people are really taken by the sail into Valletta having now done it myself.

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Sailing into Valletta

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Sail in scene Valletta

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Valletta Cruise Terminal

Off the ship we decided to take the City Sightseeing HoHo bus on the red route. Buying tickets just outside the cruise terminal we wandered along the road to the stop only to find a massive queue.

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Queue for the HoHo outside the terminal

So we set about finding the stop prior to this one so we could get on the bus before this lot. We managed to locate it without too much bother and guess what……..

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The queue for the HoHo the stop before

No queue, and when the bus arrived it was practically empty.

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Practically empty HoHo bus

When we arrived back round to the terminal we felt pretty smug as there was a stampede by the others to find seats. Anyway sitting on the top of the bus provided a welcome breeze as we wound our way round the route. We had intended to get off at a couple of places but there were never any available seats for people getting on at any of the stops we got to. It would have been nice to see the Blue Grotto but we were worried we may never get back being as the buses only run every 45 minutes and if this bus was anything to go by then we could get stuck. So we stayed on and returned back to Valletta, the whole route taking just over 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Back to Valletta, which on first appearances seemed to be a fortified maze and then turned out to be a very picturesque little town. We set off on foot to explore the old town.

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One of the many Valletta streets

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Another typical Valletta scene

There is some absolutely fantastic architecture tucked away down the little side streets and I was particularly interested in the bay windows which seemed to be everywhere. We wandered around for a couple of hours up and down the shady streets enjoying the views.

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A Valletta Street with many of the bay windows

Having stopped for a drink outside the library we made our way back to the lift which is free if you are going down but not if you are going up. It does provide a nice convenient way to getting back down to the cruise terminal. I can’t for the life of me remember the name of it. I know it begins with a B but that’s it.

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The Lift

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In port with the Costa Favalosa

Back on board time for lunch folowed by a couple of hours in the sun before sailing away just before the Costa Favalosa. Tomorrow is a sea day so I will again try and find something of value to post.

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The couple on the table next to us didn’t turn up for dinner last night and it allowed me to take a photo across the dining room and to show you the view we have from table 109.

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View from our dining room table

After a short discussion and looking so see what is on offer at today’s port, we have decided to stay onboard and take a day off and enjoy the ship and the weather. We are both feeling tired and think we need a day off. I have the added bonus of having some rather sore blisters on the soles of my feet so being able to lie down and put my feet up is going to most welcome.

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Sailing into Catania with Mount Etna in the distance

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Mount Etna from our breakfast table

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The clouds over Etna getting bigger

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The prettier side of the port in Catania

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Catania port area

With not a lot to really post today, I have just included several views that we have experienced during the day.

No shuttle service into the town today and from what we could see from our vantage point up on the Solstice Deck there is a reasonable walk just to get to the port gates.

Tonight is the second formal night of the three and we will once again be putting our glad rags on for the occasion. It is also our 7th night on board and we haven’t been to the theatre once. Tonights show is called Velocity and is a song and dance show from the production cast. Not something I am going to bother with tonight all dressed up in my dinner suit!

In the Celebrity Today, we are informed that so far the slots in the casino have paid out $194,156.82. I wonder how much has gone the other way?

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Sunrise and Vesuvius

Today our day started with a 5:45 alarm call. We needed to be off the ship as soon as possible so we could walk the 2 km or so to Napoli Porta Nolana train station. Well we did indeed get off the ship at 7:00 and were actually first off. The train we needed to catch in order to meet up with our guide was the 8:11 which got into Pompei Scavi Villa Misteri at 8:35. Pompeii opens at 8:30 and wanted to beat the rush and of course the midday heat. All went tom plan and we arrived 10 minutes ahead of schedule.

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Pompei Scavi Station

When we got to Pompei our guide Pina was waiting for us at the station and we were soon inside buying our tickets. This was the second time we have used Pina at Pompei and she was as good as the first time if not better. This second tour took in areas that we didn’t see last time and and we still haven’t managed to see half of it. I have so many photos its difficult to select the best to use. I would love to post them all.

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The view over one side of Pompei

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Pompei - The height of the ash layer

As was yesterday, the tour was soon over but not before Pina have showed us an amazing view over Pompei (its near the toliets in the middle). I am still amazed at how well some of the colours of the wall frescos have remained as good as they are. If it hadn’t have been for the volcano then they would have been long gone and we would never have seen them.

After it was back on the train to Sorrento for some lunch before catching the 40 minute boat trip back across the bay to Naples.

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A popular Sorrento view

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Sorrento Harbour

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Our boat back to Naples

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On the boat back to Naples with Sorrento behind

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Naples Cruise Terminal and the Ruby Princess on the right hand side of the terminal

Another day in port over and I beginning to think I need another cruise to get over this one as the last few days have been exhausting.
I have taken so many photos it is really difficult to narrow them down to few to post here, so I hope you are enjoying the ones I have selected so far.

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The road to Rome or in our case the train. Feeling ever more confident as we continue to explore the world on our cruises, we have today followed the example of many others before us and have taken the train from Civitavecchia into Rome. I would not have considered it a few years back but reading how others have found it so easy we decided to try it out for ourselves.

Having caught the free port shuttle to the gates we then purchased our train ticket at an ticket office just outside and proceeded to walk for a further 10 minutes up the road to Civitavecchia railway station where we caught the 8:41 train into Rome. We arrived in Rome 5 minutes after the scheduled time of 9:45 and proceeded to make our way on foot to then Colosseum. The walk taking us just over 45 minutes after stopping for quick coffee along the way.

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Civitavecchia Train Station

Our allotted meeting time and place for our tour was 12:15 outside the Colloseo Metro station. As we were early we decided to go for another quick drink to pass the time.

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First sight of the Colosseum

Our Walks of Italy guide John was actually English and originally from London but did a magical job of bringing everything to life. Not to mention he was also a bit of a Jim Carrey lookalike. The three and half hour tour seemed to go really quickly and we were on our way back before we knew it.

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Walks of Italy guide John

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The Forum

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The start of our All Access Tour of the Colosseum

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Entering the Arena

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Me on the Colosseum arena floor

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Where the Gladiators walked

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Looking down from the top floor of the Colosseum

The tour with Walks of Italy enabled us to gain access to many areas not accessible to the general public. We were able to walk out onto the arena floor, go down under to the Hypergium where the Gladiators and animals were all gathered before becoming the entertainment. The final area was the highest tier where there were some amazing views down over then whole interior of the Colosseum.

The walk back to the station was much quicker as we needed to get the 4:44 train so that we could get back to ship on time. Because you are reading this means we made it! Very tired but what an amazing day. 

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Something new that Celebrity have introduced in the main dining room is what they have called “SPE Certified “, it   is described as a unique certification programme that defines a new way to eat by enhancing the nutritional quality of meals, without compromising taste”
Basically they don’t use salt in the preparation process while also trying to make the dish more nutritious, Nicole has been giving it a go and so far she has been really pleased with what she has had to eat. This quite possibly introducing part of the Blue restaurant menu into the main dining room.

A sea day and another lie in for us and at last we have waves to look at, albeit only little ones. Up until now it has been like a mill pond. The plan today is to just sit out and enjoy the weather and sea breeze with a spot of eating in between to break it up.

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View from our breakfast table

On our way up to the Solstice Deck, our usual haunt on a sea day we passed a Zumba class in full throttle. Not our cup of tea but they all seemed to be having fun.

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Early morning Zumba classes on the pool deck

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Solstice Deck early on a sea day

One item of interest today was passing through the Messina Strait. Unfortunately not good for one passenger who was taken off by boat mid passage due to illness. The journey through this narrow channel between mainland Italy and Sicily is done with a pilot on board. This is the third time we have sailed through here and there are some strong currents and strong winds to contend with.

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Messina Pilot arrives

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Messina Strait ahead of us

Tonight we will be going to Michael’s Bar for pre dinner drinks so it will be an opertunity to try some differnt beers from around the world.

One last item I forgot to mention, Celebrity have given me a birthday present…….. a voucher for a free meal in Bistro on 5. Its worth $10, just a shame it wasn’t Muranos! Ahh well its better than nothing at all.

Tomorrow we will be in Civitevechhia for our trip to Rome and our Walks of Italy tour of the Colosseum and Forum.

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