Emilia Romagna's Culinary Delights Plus!

Emilia Romagna's Culinary Delights Plus!

On this popular bicycle tour, you'll ride through Italy's premier pasta region. Every meal will include extraordinary local dishes made according to tradition. Every day of pedaling will not only take you on behind-the-scenes visits of parmesan cheese, balsamic vinegar, and wine makers, but also to ancient castles and World Heritage UNESCO sites. History, art, culture, and tradition conspire to make this tour unforgettable!

***If this sounds great but you'd like a shorter tour check out our, Cycling Emilia Romagna's Culinary Delights.***

Tour Dates & Prices

Date
Price
Private Room Fee
Note
May 26-Jun 6, 2019
USD$4950
USD$650
3 More to Guarantee the Departure
Jun 16-27, 2019
USD$4950
USD$650
 
Sep 1-12, 2019
USD$4950
USD$650
Guaranteed to Go!

* We are happy to match solo travelers who would like to share a room with someone of the same gender. If no match exists, due to hotel pricing, we will charge 50% of the private room charge. This charge will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available it will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.

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Trip At-A-Glance

  • Length / 12 Days
  • Total Distance / 421 km (262 miles)
  • Avg. Distance / 53 km (33 miles) per riding day
  • Tour Level / 1.5
  • Countries / Italy
  • Begin/End / Cremona / Cesenatico
  • Price / From USD$4950
  • Tour Summary
  • Daily Itinerary
  • Travel Information
  • Map
  • Reviews
  • Similar Tours
Tour Summary

Tour Summary

  • Highlights
    Cremona - home to torrone or Italian nougat, Visit to a violin workshop, Balsamic vinegar cellar, Parma famous cured ham, Parmesan cheese, Bologna, Castle of Torrechiara, Modena, Resort country house in the hills, Gala seafood dinner on the coast, Casa Artusi cooking demo.

    Keep in Mind: We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.

    • We highly recommend you spend an additional day in Cremona before the beginning of the tour. It's a true little gem to discover. For things to do, we recommend visiting the amazing Museo del Violino (note it is closed on Mondays). Read our article about Cremona here.
    • OSTERIA FRANCESCANA IN MODENA: This restaurant has been voted one of the world’s top 50 restaurants! If you’d like to enjoy an evening here on your free night (Day 6), you will need to make reservations online in advance: www.osteriafrancescana.it
  • Includes
    12 days, 11 nights accommodation; all breakfasts, 7 dinners with wine, 5 lunches; 3- two-night stays at the same hotel; activities listed in itinerary; and the usual (see below).

    The Usual (Included with every ExperiencePlus! tour)

    • Superb tour leaders who are fun, bilingual and avid cyclists.
    • Help with flights, trains and pre/post tour hotels.
    • Comfortable lodging in 3-4 star hotels. 
    • All breakfasts and at least half of your dinners.
    • Use of a high quality 27-30 speed bike.
    • Full van support to carry luggage – and tired cyclists, too! 
    • Special events like wine tastings, cultural visits and chocolatiers.
    • All tips and gratuities at tour hotels and group meals.
    • Unique routes, marked with our famous chalk dust arrows.
    • Daily mileage options.
    • Detailed route map and free use of our traveling resource library.

    What's not included:

    • Transportation to and from the bicycling tour including airfare, or train travel
    • Helmets - we ask that you bring your own to ensure the best fit
    • Meals not listed in the itinerary
    • Tour Leader gratuity

    See the complete list of what's included with every ExperiencePlus! Tour.

  • Arrive / Depart
    Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport (BLQ) or Milan–Malpensa Airport (MXP)
  • Overall Tour Level
  • Daily Ride Summary

    Day

    **Distance/Gain
    mi/ftkm/m

    Terrain

    Day Level

    Notes

    1
    Test ride
    2
    36km / 106m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.0
    3
    51km / 203m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.0
    4
    45km / 247m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.0
    5
    64km / 359m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.5
    6
    50km / 189m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.0
    7
    65km / 351m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.5
    8
    Rest day
    9
    43km / 346m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.5
    10
    Rest day
    11
    39km / 274m
    Hilly
    difficulty level 2.0
    Longer optional ride available
    12
    Last day

    Tour Level Note: This is a populated area and so there are people, cars, bikes, and we use a lot of city bike paths especially entering and exiting the cities. Great tour for novice cyclists in terms of mileage and terrain, but bike handling skills are necessary due to starting/stopping and negotiating the bike paths.

    **We use Ride With GPS (ridewithgps.com) to calculate elevation and mileage information. Due to variance between mapping technologies, totals may differ slightly across devices and applications

Terrain Legend

Mostly flat Mostly flat

Rolling hills Rolling

Hilly Hilly

Very hilly Very hilly

Mountainous Mountainous

Daily Itinerary

DAY 1: Welcome to Cremona

Highlights: Cremona, home to creamy Italian nougat, handcrafted Stradivari violins, and an impressive plaza

Arrive in Cremona, home of the noble tradition of violin making. Visit a workshop to learn how Antonio Stradivarius raised violin-making to an art form and taste some torrone (the creamy nougat made from honey, nuts, and egg whites) in one of the several pasticcerie in town! We meet in the afternoon for our bike fitting at the hotel. After enjoying an aperitivo together, we celebrate the beginning of our culinary experience with a welcome dinner.

DAY 2: Polesine Parmense

Highlights: Giuseppe Verdi’s homeland, Po River valley, Local gastronomy

A quick visit to Cremona’s important “liutai” or violin makers sets the tone for the day as we pedal through opera composer Giuseppe Verdi’s homeland. We’ll leave the city cycling along the Po River bike path and wind our way through a rural area to the small town where Verdi was born, raised, and started his music career at age 8 as the official organist. Continue pedaling to our boutique hotel, famous for its cuisine and maintenance of local culinary traditions including its special cold cut ageing and production (Prince Charles has prosciutto here being cured for him!). A visit allows us a deep understanding of the local gastronomy.

  • Distance: 36 km (23 mi)
  • Gain: 106 m (348 ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: Day Level 1.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 3: Bike to Parma

Highlights: Regal residence of Colorno, quiet country roads, Parma ham and Parmesan cheese, World Heritage Site of Parma

We head south to Parma today, one of the undisputed culinary capitals of Italy, through pleasant country roads where you can catch a glimpse of local farm life. Our journey takes us to the ducal palace of Colorno. While it has passed through the hands of many rulers, today, it houses the headquarters of ALMA, the International School of Italian Cuisine. We continue on to Parma, where your taste buds will not be disappointed. It is a city where the arts have flourished Parmigianino, Correggio, and Giuseppe Verdi are some of the most famous citizens. Take a stroll around the historical center before dinner together.

  • Distance: 51 km (32 mi)
  • Gain: 203 m (666 ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: Day Level 1.0
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Lodging:

DAY 4: Loop ride into hills to the castle of Torrechiara

Highlights: The Parma hills to the castle of Torrechiara and lunch with a view

Get ready for another day of bicycling amidst ancient castles and local traditions! Today's ride will loop to the breath-taking castle of Torrechiara. Dominating the Val Parma, the castle was constructed between 1448 and 1460, devised as an instrument of defense as well as a distinguished home for the count and his lover. This area is famous for its cured prosciutto and local salame--we will have lunch in this historic setting to taste them! We return to Parma, where, if you are still hungry, our tour leaders will suggest restaurants for dinner.

  • Distance: 45 km (28 mi)
  • Gain: 247 m (810 ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: Day Level 1.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
  • Lodging:

DAY 5: Ride to Reggio nell'Emilia countryside

Highlights: Prosciutto di Parma making, stay in an agriturismo

Another eventful day today, we'll stop at a salumificio to see how they make Prosciutto di Parma before heading to Reggio Emilia around lunch time. We'll continue on our way along back roads and bike paths to reach our agriturismo, a country house/hotel with a working farm, where we'll stay tonight. Dinner is together at the agriturismo.

  • Distance: 64 km (40 mi)
  • Gain: 359 m (1178 ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: Day Level 1.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 6: Ride to Modena

Highlights: Parmesan cheese making, a balsamic vinegar visit in a historical vinegar cellar, World Heritage Site of historic Modena

We have an early start this morning to observe the artistry of a working Parmesan cheese maker. The proud Consorzio will explain the intricacies of this poignant but delicate cheese on our guided tour. Another culinary mystery is unveiled today as we stop at an acetaia, a traditional balsamic vinegar factory to learn how leftover grapes are transformed into the sweet rich vinegar that can sometimes be worth hundreds of dollars. Tradition is beautifully preserved here as the historic methods of production are still in use. A picnic lunch will follow the visit to the acetaia before continuing on to Modena. Don't miss a visit to the historic center of town.

  • Distance: 50 km (31 mi)
  • Gain: 189 m (620 ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: Day Level 1.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
  • Lodging:

DAY 7: Bicycle to Bologna

Highlights: Guided tour of Bologna

We leave Modena's Duomo and the Ghirlandaia tower along a rails to trails bike path that leads to the fortress town of Bazzano, a perfect spot for a morning snack before enjoying stunning views of the hills on our way to Bologna, our destination for tonight. We'll complete the day with a guided visit of this great city before dinner together.

  • Distance: 65 km (41 mi)
  • Gain: 351 m (1151 ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: Day Level 1.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 8: Rest day in Bologna

Highlights: The World Heritage Porticoes of Bologna, cooking class

Rest day in Bologna, Emilia Romagna's administrative capital, and, arguably, its culinary capital as well. Home to the oldest continually operating university in the world, Bologna has a long tradition of studies, arts, and gastronomy. Speaking of gastronomy, Bologna gave birth to the mortadella, vulgarly distorted abroad as "bologna," although the fresh, artisanal mortadella has nothing to do with processed meat! Make sure you put this culinary delight on your 'must try' list! Join us for a cooking class as we learn a few secrets from local artisans. A stroll through the historic center and its porticoes completes a perfect afternoon. If you're still hungry, stroll over to Eataly, the worlds biggest "agri food park" and a tribute to farming and food diversity in Italy.

DAY 9: Enter Romagna

Highlights: Romagna, Castrocaro Terme, pastry shop and gelato visit, country villa dinner

We’ll leave the bustling city of Bologna today to head to the 'heart of Romagna', a quieter and “smaller” part of Emilia Romagna. With fewer large cities compared to Emilia, this region within a region, is known for its hospitality and exceptional food (of course!). The ride today takes us to meet some local pastry makers as you pedal past orchards and make your way into the Apennine foothills to a beautifully restored parish house nestled in the hills – your home for two nights. Lovingly renovated by architect Sara and her husband, this elegant resort and farm is a tribute food, agriculture and architectural traditions. Settle in and enjoy a drink on the lovely patio before dinner together tonight.

  • Distance: 43 km (27 mi)
  • Gain: 346 m (1135 ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: Day Level 1.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 10: Rest day in the quiet hills

Highlights: Lunch and walk in the Romagna hills, visit to winery and learning about farm

We'll take a day off the bikes to get to know the area with a walk, picnic lunch and visit to our hosts’ farm and winery. This region traditionally has been farmed by families with small/medium plots of land who pool their resources into local cooperatives to share farming equipment. As younger generations inherit the land, fewer and fewer are interested in working their family land. Thankfully there are still some, like our hosts, who are returning to the land and are using modern and innovative farming and marketing techniques to create a niche market for their products.

DAY 11: Bike to Bertinoro and Casa Artusi

Highlights: Casa Artusi, famous “home” cooking institute, piadina making demo, luxury hotel, beach resort, gala final seafood dinner

Coast down hill on our way to the world famous institute for traditional “home” cooking. The “Casa Artusi” honors Pellegrino Artusi, the first writer and chef to compile recipes from all over Italy into one cookbook titled “The Science of Cooking and the Art of Eating Well” in 1891. Hailed as the first person to document and therefore establish a national Italian cuisine, Artusi claimed all recipes were scientifically tried and true by his housemaid/collaborator Marietta. Today women who act as teachers (alongside chefs) in the institute are referred to as "Marietta." We learn to make piadina from a “Marietta” before continuing to the beach town of Cesenatico where a seafood gala dinner awaits at ExperiencePlus! founder's and owner's family restaurant. A wonderful celebration to end our culinary bike tour.

There is the option for an extra ride of 35 km (22 miles) to the beach.

  • Distance: 39 km (24 mi)
  • Gain: 274 m (899 ft)
  • Terrain: Hilly
  • Day Level: Day Level 2.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 12: Tour ends in Cesenatico

Highlights: Beach time!

Enjoy a sumptuous breakfast before heading off to further adventures, or spend a few days at this beautiful, historic hotel to pamper yourself in the spa or on the beach. Whatever you do, buon viaggio and buon appetito.

  • Meals: Breakfast
Travel Information

Travel Information

Day 1: Arrival Information

Welcome to Cremona

Lodging: Delle Arti Design Hotel

Meeting time 2 p.m. - on Day 1, meet your fellow cyclists and Tour Leaders at the Day 1 Hotel specified on the itinerary.

Note:

As you are planning, remember that the hotels listed in our itineraries are our primary hotels and are - in rare cases - subject to change. Before you make arrangements, check with us if your tour departure is guaranteed. If your tour departure is out further than 6 months, please also check with us as there might be slight changes to the itinerary.

The below information will help you plan your arrival. For more tips or other routes, you might like Rome2Rio. The fare and timing information listed below is approximate.

The airports closest to the tour start are

  • Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport (BLQ) and
  • Milano Malpensa (MXP) both of which 2 to 3 hours from Cremona.
Note: If you are flying into Milan, flights from the U.S. arrive at the Malpensa Airport (MXP). Most European flights arrive at the Linate (LIN) airport.

Flying into Bologna and continuing to Cremona

  1. Taxi from Bologna airport to the Bologna Centrale main train station (20 min/EUR 20-25) or Airport Shuttle Bus (Aerobus-BLQ), no pre-booking necessary (20 min/EUR 6)
  2. Train from Bologna Centrale to Cremona (2.5 hours/fares vary)
Flying into Milano Malpensa and continuing to Cremona

  1. If you stop over in Milan: From Malpensa Aeroporto to Milano Centrale (www.malpensaexpress.it) (50 min/EUR 13)
  2. If you continue directly to the tour start: From Malpensa Aeroporto to Cremona (you will still need to change trains at Milano Centrale) (2-3 hours/fares vary)
  3. From the Cremona train station to the Day 1 Hotel

  4. Taxi (5 min/EUR 8-10)
  5. Look up Italian train schedules at Trenitalia.com or Trainline.eu. Questions? See our information on taking trains in Europe here or ask us.

Day 12: Departure Information

Tour ends in Cesenatico

Your bicycle tour ends on the final day after breafast.

The below information will help you plan your departure.

We recommend flying out of the Bologna Airport (BLQ).

  1. Taxi from the ending hotel to the Airport bus stop Cesena Sud (20 min/EUR 15-20)
  2. Airport bus from Cesena Sud to Bologna Airport; departures every 2 hours, reservations necessary at least 24 hours prior to departure, Tour Leaders can assist while on tour. (1 hr 15 min/EUR 35)

Or

  • Private transfer from the Ending Hotel to the Bologna Airport; can be arranged at hotel or with Tour Leaders (EUR 190 (2 pax) to EUR 240 (4 pax)/90 min)
You will also have frequent train connections from Cesenatico to other cities in Italy (via Bologna and Rimini).

Look up Italian train schedules at Trenitalia.com or Trainline.eu. Questions? See our information on taking trains in Europe here or ask us.

What's Included

For a full list of what's included before, during and after your bike tour, visit our What's Included page.

Keep in Mind

We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.

  • We highly recommend you spend an additional day in Cremona before the beginning of the tour. It's a true little gem to discover. For things to do, we recommend visiting the amazing Museo del Violino (note it is closed on Mondays). Read our article about Cremona here.
  • OSTERIA FRANCESCANA IN MODENA: This restaurant has been voted one of the world’s top 50 restaurants! If you’d like to enjoy an evening here on your free night (Day 6), you will need to make reservations online in advance: www.osteriafrancescana.it

Pre-Trip Planning Checklist

To do right after you booked!

6 to 3 Months Prior to Tour Start Date

  • Check the online itinerary of your trip and review the arrival and departure information under the "Travel Information" tab to see meeting place and time, if a reservation on a complimentary ExperiencePlus! Shuttle (if applicable) is required, and other important information to help you plan your arrival and departure.
  • Reserve your flights after you know you have a confirmed tour departure. Please check with our office if you do not know if your trip is confirmed.
  • Book your pre and post-tour hotel nights.
  • 12 weeks before your tour begin your training program: https://www.experienceplus.com/blog/travel-planning/bicycle-tour-training/
  • Final payment is due 90 days prior to the tour start. Please refer to your Deposit Payment Invoice and the Final Payment Reminder e-mail you have received for detailed instructions.

6 to 2 Weeks Prior to Tour Start Date

Day of Your Flight

Get as much sleep on the plane as you can. Pack your one day of cycling gear in your carry-on. See you soon!

What to Expect on Tour

Bicycles

Your bike will be equipped with: a men's or women's saddle, a quick release style seat post adjustment, rear rack and expandable pack, pump, patch kit, spare tube, cable lock, cyclometer, rear lights, a water bottle cage (or two) and a water bottle (or two) and in some cases a bell. If you would like to bring your own pedals and shoes we recommend doing so—your tour leaders will install them during the bike fitting. We have flat pedals with or without cages available. For safety and hygiene reasons you are responsible for bringing a helmet.

Daysheets

Each day you'll receive a daysheet with information on the day's activities, meals and ride. These also include Tour Leader phone numbers, hotel information and interesting historical and cultural information about sites that you may want to stop and see along the route. Your Tour Leaders will also post daily announcements in the hotel lobby with information about sightseeing in town or restaurant recommendations for dinners on your own as well as important information about breakfast, luggage down and "arrows down" time.

Navigating on Tour

Each day we will provide you with a route map with the day's ride highlighted route. Of course, we also mark the route every day with our signature chalk dust arrows. Our arrows make navigating very easy—you may never need to look at the map! The arrows also allow you to ride at your own pace. There is no need to "keep up" with the group—this is your ride!

But what if it rains? What happens to the arrows? In a light rain, the arrows actually "set up" and become more permanent. In a heavy rain, they do wash away. If that happens, we'll re-group to cycle together for those who want to continue cycling while those who prefer to stay dry can shuttle.

For the tech-loving riders out there we offer the opportunity to download GPS tracks of most tour routes to your personal GPS device using RideWithGPS.com. Tracks are available upon request approximately three to four weeks prior to the departure.

Van Support

The van carries luggage and supports cyclists. It also has water, fruit and snacks. Though the van has snacks, we encourage you to stop and enjoy markets and find your own favorite local specialty.

Hotels

We have carefully chosen all of our accommodations for their charm and location. They are typically small, family run hotels that offer you a glimpse into the local culture.

We prefer hotels near interesting sites in the center of town located along the best cycling route in the area. Because many of the hotels are small not all of the rooms will be exactly the same. We keep this in mind and do our best to distribute rooms fairly by the end of the tour. Our itinerary lists our primary hotels. On rare occasions, listed hotels are subject to change.

Meals and Restaurants

Breakfasts: we work hard to arrange complete breakfasts but some hotels still serve continental style breakfasts; cycling is energy intensive so we do recommend you plan for a morning or mid-morning snack on the road at a local café or market.

Water is OK in almost all hotels and in country fountains; if there is a problem, we will advise you.

We'll recommend lunch locations en route and most itineraries include a few group picnics. We limit the number of picnics so you don't feel pressured to be at a certain place in the middle of your ride.

Dinners together are often pre-planned and pre-ordered. We'll ask you prior to your trip if you have special dietary requirements. Preplanned meals allow us to provide a variety of regional specialties and facilitate efficient service. Water, wine and beer are included.

Tipping Your Tour Leader Team

If you feel your tour leader team has demonstrated great expertise and service, common practice within the travel industry is to tip. Tipping is voluntary and greatly appreciated, and gratuity amounts vary widely. Should you decide to leave a tip, as a guideline, we suggest 5% of the tour cost per traveler – this for the entire tour leader team, not each Tour Leader. If you’d like to show your gratitude for your Tour Leaders’ excellent service you can give the tip to any member of the tour leader team, as they share it evenly. In order to avoid social tensions, we encourage you to tip as individuals and not as a group. If you feel your Tour Leaders did not quite meet your expectations, then we would like to know about it. You will also have the opportunity to leave your comments in our evaluation survey which we email to you after your trip.

Photos

By reserving space on tour, you agree that ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours may use, re-use and reproduce any images, photos or videos that you send to us, or that are taken by our guides and/or other travelers of you individually or in a group, in any medium, including but not limited to print, electronic media, or Internet, free of charge and without your right to inspection, for promoting and publicizing our travel products and services worldwide. If you do not want us to use any images of you that are taken by us or other participants during the tour, you must inform us or your tour leader in writing at the start of the tour.

Map

Map

Reviews

Reviews

  • The pre planning materials were really excellent (especially the what to pack and what to leave home). The meals and hotels were terrific, the whole trip was wonderful. Amazing trip, thanks SO much!

    Traci P., Denver, CO
  • I have described this tour to frinds as "trip of a lifetime."

    Michael K,, Saratoga Springs, NY
  • Outstanding chance to enjoy the culinary delights of Italy! Our third trip with ExperiencePlus! tour we loved it and will be back!

    Dennis D., Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • Best experience of my life. Can''t wait to plan another one with Experience Plus! Thank you for an awesome experience!

    Karen B., Brooklyn, NY - June 2017
  • Great guides, incredible food, fun learning and relatively easy cycling. We have cycled with several companies and not one of them compare to Experience Plus, your guides and...those chalk arrows can''t be beat!

    Kathy S., Elk Rapids, MI - June 2017
  • Great trip. Leaders were fantastic. Enjoyed first trip to the ExperiencePlus! "farm".

    Dave A., Black Forest, CO
  • The new hybrid bikes are fantastic! Happy to do another great trip with EexperiencePus! This one was about as perfect as it gets.

    Tom R., Lake Tahoe, CA
  • Fabulous. What was your favorite experience on this trip? everything. More than riding from hotel to hotel, with lunch and coffee stops.

    Jeanne E., Centerville, OH - June 2017
  • Great, fun, easy, satisfying, full of interesting experiences, a great way to see the region and taste the cheeses, vinegars, wines, and olive oils, in context with great meals.

    Sharon S., Eugene, OR
  • The tour was such an incredible experience for us. We enjoyed meeting the other tour members and our guides. We had alot of laughs together, as well as serious discussions. I can''t wait to do another tour! Cycling in this manner is definitely the way to see a country.

    Lynda P., Pisgah Forest, NC
  • Pasta making was a great. The picnic at the balsamic vinegar maker was wonderful. Biking with Italians on the road was priceless.

    Susan A., Colorado Springs, CO
  • The trip of a lifetime. I''ve been recommending it to all my friends. What was your favorite experience on this trip? So many. I loved the concert at the Teatro in Parma; our dinner in Cremona, and Gelato University. I have to say, though, that my favorite experiences were the insider tours on Parmesan; prosciutto and balsamic vinegar. It was like being on the Food Network.

    Gloria K., Saratoga Springs, NY
  • Excellent bicycle and vacation experience.

    Sandy Z., Berkeley, CA
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