Russia
Russia

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194 travelers at this place:

  • Day71

    Yekaterinburg @night

    August 14 in Russia

    As almost all cities in Russia Yekaterinburg is very nice at night. We walked around for a while and noticed that the only buildings which are in the dark are the churches.

    Wie fast alle Städte in Russland ist auch Yekaterinburg bei Nacht bzw. am Abend sehr schön beleuchtet. Lediglich die Kirchen wurden hier nicht beleuchtet.

  • Day8

    Tram Tales

    June 15, 2017 in Russia

    Well, it was a dreich day in Moscow this morning (Thursday). You know, sometimes this place reminds me of Glasgow - heavy showers, grey skies, road works everywhere and waiting on public transport that doesn't turn up! I waited 45 minutes on a tram with a supposedly 4 minute service. A queue of elderly Muscovites gave the driver what for, shaking their brollies at her, but Big Bertha the tram driver was having none of it. Two young lads ducked under the tram's turnstile in the melee, and laughed as they thought had skipped their fare. But Big Bertha had clocked them, and shouted to the effect, 'come oan you pair, get aff ma tram!' Just looking round the tram, I had to conclude that the Muscovites really are a dour lot - not much of the craic here!

    One poor old soul had either forgotten her ticket, or didn't have one, and explained she was only going one stop. But Big Bertha was having none of it, and slammed on the brakes - she was going nowhere. Eventually a kindly fellow passenger let the old dear use his pass, and we were off.

    The traffic in Moscow is constantly heavy, with many roads gridlocked. Vehicles constantly block junctions and, at their peril, some strayed into our tram track, until BB scared them off with the constant shrill ringing of her bell. At one point our tram came to a complete standstill in the traffic for a good 20 minutes, and folk were desperate to get off and walk. 'Yer gaun nowhere' decreed Big Bertha, 'this is a limited stop - ye cannae get aff afore the Bolshoi!' (I'm paraphrasing here, but you get the gist).

    (I've just realised I'm starting to sound like Kris with a K and his tales of the No. 9 bus to Paisley. Sorry, K, but this was a number 3 tram, so sufficient artistic differences!).

    In the late morning, I decided to pay a visit to one of Moscow's many art galleries. I chose the New Tretyakov Gallery housing the best of 20th Century Soviet art. Behind this, the Museum Park is the final resting place for many Soviet statues torn from their pedestals after the Soviet Union's collapse.

    While I enjoyed the gallery, getting there was a bit of a nightmare, even with Google Maps. Due to even more road works, it was hard to work out which of the various underpasses took me where I wanted to go. Three times I must have passed the same odd-looking woman with bizarre black painted eyebrows and crooked lipstick, trying to sell me a dancing, threadbare rabbit smoking a cigar (the rabbit that is). 'No, thank you, madam, I know I have passed your way several times but I already have one at home.'

    Then back to the hotel to collect my bags and head off to Kazansky station. Moscow has nine main line stations, all huge and in grand palatial-like buildings. I hoped I had found the right one. Yes! I checked into my berth on the 16.38 train. It was clean and comfortable and I was pleased I was only sharing my 4 berth cabin with one old, non English-speaking Russian man. Our compartment had comfy seats, and our berths above were made up with fresh linen and towels. We had a table, a safe, slippers and toothbrush / toothpaste, power points and even a TV. Shortly after our prompt departure, our Stewardess brought us our complementary meal - an airline type affair, consisting of a hot pork dish with rice, a roll, crackers and jam, and a bottle of water. She returned with tea in a glass in a fabulous silver Russian tea holder as we departed the metropolis and headed East. With only 5531 miles to Vladivostok, the first real part of my Trans Siberian Railway adventure had finally begun!
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  • Day11

    Ykaterinburg

    June 18, 2017 in Russia

    Ykaterinburg is an attractive city - Russia's 4th largest, with Boris Yeltsin, the first Russian President, hailing from here. Beautiful day again today, so I took a trip up the Vysotsky Tower - named after one of Russia's most famous singer-songwriters (what do you mean you haven't heard of him!). Great views from the 52nd floor. Visited the famous Church on the Blood, built on the site of the house where the Romanov's were shot (before being taken to the woods outside the city and dumped in a mineshaft which I had seen yesterday). Amazing church, and busy on a Sunday with a children's choir singing outside and free food (literally loaves and fishes by the looks of it) being handed out to soldiers and families who apparently travel great distances to come here.

    As I was running low on socks and pants I found the very place - M&S Ykaterinburg branch - only double the price. The city is proud to have been chosen by FIFA To be a host city for the 2018 World Cup.

    After dinner, a return to the Opera House to see Romeo and Juliet - the ballet. Another stunning production. It was sold out so I had to pay top price of £15 for my seat tonight. Now a wait until the ungodly hour of 3.45 am to catch the next leg of the Trans Siberian - with 2 full days on the train! Wish me luck!
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  • Day15

    Beautiful Lake Baikal

    June 22, 2017 in Russia

    Today's visit to Lake Baikal has been one of the highlights of the trip so far. An early start and one hour on the bus from Irkutsk, following the River Angara, brought me to this wonderful place. Lake Baikal is the world's deepest lake, and contains 20% of the world’s freshwater supplies If all the rest of the world’s drinking water ran out tomorrow, Lake Baikal could supply the entire population of the planet for the next 40 years! Known as the Blue Eye of Siberia, it can apparently be seen from space.

    The main town, Listvyanka, is a bit touristy as you might expect. I joined in some of the tourist fun and enjoyed a show at the Nerpinarium by Lake Baikal’s famous freshwater seals. Not exactly Sea World, but the kids, and this adult, enjoyed their performance. I had a lovely walk in the sunshine along the front, and found a nice restaurant where I dined on fresh Omul, a fish only found in Lake Baikal, baked with cheese and potatoes - lovely (and I’m no’ a fish haun). A highlight however was going on a short boat trip to experience part of the lake. Again the weather hot and sunny, and it was a pleasure to feel some breeze about you and admire the beautiful scenery.

    Back safely in Irkutsk, no thanks to the marshrutka driver, who insisted I sat in the front of his packed minibus, while he drank coffee, smoked, ate his lunch, used his mobile phone, played loud Russian ballads which he sang along with, while driving at breakneck speed. When he stopped to pick up more passengers, an old woman got in the front beside me and I signalled to him that I couldn't find the seat belt - he dismissed me with a wave indicating I didn't need it - and I noticed he wasn't wearing one either!

    Once back in the city I had a walk round the extensive market. Although it was late afternoon it was still thriving with a huge selection of fish, fruit and veg, meat and bakery items. I decided to stock up on goods to get ready for tomorrow’s marathon train journey - 3.5 days to Vladivostok! As I probably won't have wifi on the train you may not hear from me for a while. What's that you say - thank goodness?
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  • Day8

    Vrijdagavond laat vertrekken we met de Trans-Siberian Express naar onze eerste tussenstop: Irkusk, Siberië. Een treinreis van vier dagen. Het eerste deel van het traject richting Vladivostok, van in totaal 9289 kilometer en zeven tijdzones. Voor ons met eindbestemming Beijing, China.

    Gezonde spanning als we rond middernacht bepakt en bezakt door de straten naar het treinstation in Moskou lopen. Op naar het onbekende. Zoeken naar het juiste treinstation, het juiste spoor, het juiste treinstel en de juiste coupe. En met wie je de nacht op twee vierkante meter doorbrengt.

    Op weg naar het station in Moskou verloor ik nog bijna mijn (zorgvuldig) aan de backpack vastgemaakte Meindl wandelschoen. Teruggefloten door een Russische agent, het geluk was aan mijn zijde.

    De trein vertrekt perfect op tijd. De kleine vierpersoonscoupe delen met een oudere keurige Russische man. Opnieuw een geluksmomentje. Wisselen wat woorden, maken de stapelbedden klaar en wiegen in slaap.

    Na een korte nacht denderen we zo'n 900 km verder door herfstkleurige berkenbossen, graslanden en kleine dorpjes. Slippers aan en integreren in het treinleven :-).

    Heet water is vrij en onbeperkt verkrijgbaar. We leven de treindagen daarom op vooraf ingekochte instant noodles, aardappelpuree, havermout, crackers, oploskoffie en thee. Verder zijn er monteurs en politie aan boord en heeft iedere wagon een eigen provodnik/ provodnitsa. Deze persoon is toezichthouder, schoonmaker, temperatuurregelaar en ticketcontroleur in één. En niet al te vriendelijk (understatement).

    Mijn eerste uitdaging in de ochtend is om ergens in de trein twee bekers te vinden om thee en koffie uit te kunnen drinken. Hoe heerlijk primair wil je het hebben? Dit leverde door de taalbarrière overigens twee volle koppen koffie uit deze restaurantwagon op, die om onze budgettaire redenen weer gecancelled moesten worden.

    Zo wordt de dagenlange treinreis naar Irkusk een heerlijke primitieve manier van onthaasten. Stilstaan terwijl je reist. Geen WiFi, geen bereik. Dutje hier, korte wandeling daar, wat lezen, een praatje op de gang, nog een dutje, keuzes maken over wat en wanneer je gaat eten, benen strekken als de trein even stopt, muziekje en uit het raam staren naar mooie vergezichten.

    De trein dendert door en de uitzichten veranderen.
    Op naar meer treindagen. Verder Rusland in.
    Op naar de tussenstop in Irkusk.
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  • Day19

    Venturing towards Vladivostock

    June 26, 2017 in Russia

    It was a daunting thought as I boarded the train at 07.47 on Friday morning, knowing I would be on it for the next three full days. Again it was a bit unnerving on arrival at Irkutsk station to see the departure board (only in Russian) and the station clock showing the time of departure (for what I had worked out must be the Vladivostok train) as being 02.47 (Moscow time). Even more confusingly, local trains were shown in the correct local time!

    On boarding, I was disappointed that for the first time my compartment was dirty and untidy, littered with food and drink debris. Summoning up my courage, I approached Madame Provodnitsa (Slack Svetlana from Siberia) and, with the aid of Google translate, let her know I was not happy. ‘Russian pigs’ she declared as she set about clearing out the berth. My travelling companion was a heavy built Russian lad who looked like a young Sumo wrestler with the face of a film star - ah yes, I remember - King Kong! He had his foodstuffs spread all over, and looked a bit sheepish as Senga told him off for being so untidy. After my complaint, Slack Svetlana made a show of cleaning the whole carriage with much huffing and puffing. To her credit however she did bring me a pack of fresh linen and a cup of tea in one of the lovely metal tea holders.

    The scenery was lovely as we left, with sweeping views of Lake Baikal as we skirted its southern edge. The train stops for 10 minutes at Slydyanka 500 metres from the lake, and some brave Trans Siberian passengers have been known to take the dare of running down to the lake for a quick dip before running back to catch the train. Apparently a few have missed it, so I decided to forego this pleasure.

    This original part of the line did not follow this route due to the expense of building through this mountainous part, and passengers were ferried across the Great Lake ( I have noticed there have been barely any tunnels on the entire route so far). However in winter the ferries could not break through the ice. At one point in 1904, troops had to make the crossing, and it was decided to lay tracks across the thick ice to allow the train to cross. However the train did not get too far before the ice cracked and the locomotive sank into the icy water Oops!

    At Ulan-Ude the line to Mongolia and Beijing branches off. Another passenger joined us here who reminded me of Gerry Begley from the Apollo Players (no offence Gerry if you are reading) - a friendly Russian, kind and generous with his food which he offered to share. King Kong needed no 2nd invitation, and soon was tucking into roast chicken and home made bread.

    Gerry Begley proudly showed us photos of his children and grandchildren ‘look how she can put her jacket on, all by herself - ah’. He told me in his limited English he was a fisherman - and proceeded to clear the table of all the foodstuff (much to the annoyance of King Kong), and set up a large antiquated laptop. He proceeded to show us a video of him and his mates on various fishing expeditions on the Volga and other great Russian rivers - shooting the rapids, camping, displaying their catches etc. Although it was interesting initially, I have to say my interest waned after 30 minutes or so - I mean how excited can you get at seeing yet another poor Omul dangling from a line! In his favour however the next home video about boring a 5 foot deep hole in the ice of Lake Baikal to fish was pretty amazing. I congratulated him on the videos and he proudly announced he was the Director. He laughed when I referred to him thereafter as Sergei Spielberg!

    The scenery on this part of the journey is beautiful. Rather than just miles of forest, there are rolling hills and gleaming rivers - very like Scotland in many ways. The sun shone again all day and you never tired looking out the window. The railway line is very well used, not only by passenger trains but by freight ones too, with 100 wagons or more carrying a variety of materials such as timber, granite chips and gas. Sod's law, as soon as you see an interesting photo opportunity a lengthy train passes. Although the countryside is beautiful, it is marred at times by ugly towns with their decaying industrial buildings. However we can go for hours without seeing one and the vast majority of the landscape is completely unspoiled.

    Another passenger joined us during the night - a keep fit fanatic on the wrong side of 40 but with the body of a guy half his age, a Vladimir Putin type. He spent much of the time exercising in the corridor and didn't speak a word. After a reasonable night’s sleep, we all got up and washed around 7.30 - except for King Kong who did not stir until 2pm - taking up the whole of one side of the seating area. I decided to give the restaurant car a miss today and had just finished my breakfast of banana, black bread with pate and cheese portions and coffee, when Sergei Spielberg sat beside me smiling with his laptop open, and showed me a huge collection of still photos of the mountains, wildlife, flora and fauna of the Volga region. Don't get me wrong, they were stunning photos, but there's only so many times you can ooh and aah at a snow-capped peak or a piece of lichen.

    In between video shows, I caught up with my reading, and managed to finish the Robert Harris novel Archangel - set in Moscow and other parts of Russia, with a Stalinesque theme - very entertaining. I moved on to read a new book about Nicholas ll- the Last Tsar and the Russian Revolution of 1917. I found it fascinating to read about some of the places I had been on this trip. There seem to be a lot of new books out commemorating the centenary of these momentous events.

    By Sunday morning, King King had cleared every scrap of food he could find and got off the train, disappearing into the trees. This gave Sergei more space to show off his cinematic achievements. He was very generous and continuously offered to share his food. After two days now on the train I felt the need for a shower and, with the help of Google Translate, the Provodnitsa arranged this, after allowing 10 minutes for the water to heat (you'll need tae wait till ah put the immersor oan!). Thankfully I had brought a towel, soap and shampoo, as it was just a bare cubicle with a seat, but it did the trick and I felt suitably refreshed.

    On Sunday afternoon we crossed the 2.6km bridge over the River Amur - the longest bridge on the Trans Siberian Railway. This area is the home of the Amur or Siberian tiger, the largest member of the cat family. My guide book told me that in 1987 a tiger had strayed on to the tracks and held up the train. I asked Sergei if there was a chance we might see one of these great beasts and he replied ‘yes, of course - in the Zoo!’.

    Sadly Sergei Spielberg had to get off at Khabavorsk at Sunday tea time. I was sorry to see him go as he was good fun and we had many laughs. It's amazing how you can communicate with someone with odd words, gestures and mime. As he struggled to find the words about leaving, he shrugged his shoulders and said ‘Me - Brexit!’ and off he went.

    More passengers get on here to take up the berths vacated by King Kong and Sergei. The train is not a tourist attraction but a real working train used heavily by locals. Slack Svetlana is busy handing out fresh linen to the newcomers as we face our last night on board. As my granny used to say: ‘that's how the rents are cheap!’

    From here, the line runs south all the way to Vladivostok and there are good views over the plains to China. On Monday morning, 72 hours after I left Irkutsk on Friday morning, the train finally pulls into its eastern terminus. It's been 5630 miles since we left Moscow, and I am thrilled to have experienced the world's longest rail journey, and one I will never forget - the Trans Siberian!
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  • Day5

    To Russia With Love!

    June 12, 2017 in Russia

    A quick trip on the efficient S-Bahn (suburban railway) to Berlin's Ostbahnhof Station for the next keg if my journey - the 22 hour trip on the Berlin to Moscow sleeper train. I was pleasantly surprised at the sleek modern (Spanish built) train and the immaculate stewards positioned to welcome us at each carriage. Our steward was Viktor Gorbachev (no relation) who spoke little English but was very helpful. I was in a 4 berth cabin - 4 daytime seats which converted into 4 comfortable sleeping berths, with sheet, duvet and pillow. I had 4 travelling companions - two men from Germany, and a father and his toddler daughter who shared a berth - literally four men and a little lady! The wee girl was very sweet and didn't cry or make a noise all night. She was delighted when I gave her a little compact mirror with a Scottish design and kept showing it to me. Well, it was either that or a miniature of Grouse!

    As my travelling companions tucked into their black bread sandwiches a smoked sausage picnics, I ventured to the dining car - a bright modern compartment with good views of the surrounding scenery - aren't these German / Polish / Belarusian/ Russian trees beautiful! I met an Australian couple - Rob and Merril - from Lennox! New South Wales. They were hoteliers who owned their own hotel / pubs and were great fun - we hit it off and spend several hours chatting. The menu looked interesting until we were advised most things were 'aff', so dinner was Borsch (beetroot soup), black bread and a chicken Caesar salad, washed down with a German beer (no Tennents here, Dad!).

    We traveled though Germany and slipped into Poland, taking on more passengers in Warsaw. I was in the lower bunk and dozed off to sleep, only to be woken by Viktor at 3.30am telling us we were approaching the border with Belarus. This involved us all getting up, completing an immigration card, and looking out our papers as Custom and Border Control officials inspected us. After about an hour, the train rolled over a bridge a few hundred metres into Belarus, where we had to go though the same procedure with the Belarusian authorities. So after about 2 hours we were allowed to go on our way and my fellow Russian companions, who only spoke to me in German, instructed me 'mehr schlaf' (more sleep). I dutifully returned to my bunk and slept for 4 hours. Father and daughter got off in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, which gave us much more space in view of the amount of luggage they had.I joined my Aussie friends for breakfast - the menu hadn't increased, but a pale-looking ham and cheese omelette and coffee sufficed. In spite of our delays at the border, the train rolled into Moscow's Belorussky Station dead on time. One of my German travelling companions asked if I had a 'Frau' in Moscow. Sadly I said I didn't, but he proudly exclaimed he did. She met him at the station and I thought initially she was his daughter or granddaughter, but the passionate embrace indicated otherwise. She was a lovely young women with good English, who insisted on driving me to my hotel. This saved me the ordeal of negotiating the Moscow Metro with my luggage and I was extremely grateful.

    The small hotel Sadovnicheskaya was beautifully decorated and the young man on reception recommended a good Russian restaurant nearby. I had a hearty meal of Solyanka soup, black bread, beef stroganoff, mashed potatoes and cabbage - delicious - and washed down with a small jug of ice cold vodka. Well, when in Rome...
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  • Day6

    Red Rob

    June 13, 2017 in Russia

    What a huge city Moscow is - so many grand buildings, columns, turrets and golden onion domes. I managed to get a Russian SIM card and the young girl in the mobile phone shop kindly put it in for me (so to speak!). I then braved the famous Moscow underground - much deeper than ours at home, but very grand stations. I had a lovely walk around the centre - did you spot Max at the Bolshoi? The weather was not so good today and when heavy rain came on I decided to try out one of Moscow's top recommendations- a Russian banya or bath house. The Sanduny banya is the oldest and most luxurious in the city (check their website www.sanduny.ru). What an experience - the rooms were so hot you had to wear a felt hat - and the ice cold plunge pools must have had water piped from Siberia. To finish off I went for the traditional beating with birch leaves. I was allowed to keep my hat and birch leaves as a souvenir!

    With the rain now off, I had a lovely walk round Red Square - such fabulous buildings. Did you spot Max at St Basil's Cathedral and the Kremlin? I call him Karl Max here. My walk continued along the Moscow River to the colossal statue of Peter the Great - breathtaking, finishing up at Gorky Park. Knackered and ready for bed!
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  • Day62

    Goodbye St. Petersburg

    August 5 in Russia

    It is time to leave St. Petersburg. On our last day we had just a short walk through the city and ended in the Hard Rock Cafe for lunch. All in all it was really nice here in St. Petersburg. In a few hours we will take a night bus to Moscow.

    Es ist schon wieder Zeit St. Petersburg zu verlassen. An unserem letzten Tag sind wir noch ein bisschen durch die Stadt gelaufen bevor wir ein ausgiebiges Mittagessen im Hard Rock Cafe hatten. Es war wirklich nett hier in der Stadt und wir sind bisher sehr positiv überrascht von Russland.
    Heute Abend geht es dann mit einem Nachtbus nach Moskau!
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  • Day69

    Our first impression of Perm yesterday was: What an ugly city! After we walked around today we know that this city have nice areas as well, but it is totally different to Moscow or St. Petersburg.
    The city has two touristic walks marked with a red and green line on the ground which passes all sights with detailed explanations in English. Very nice!

    Gestern war unser erster Eindruck von Perm: Hässlich! Vor allem die Wohnhäuser sind hier wirklich heruntergekommen und erinnern an Plattenbauten der 60er Jahre.
    Nachdem wir allerdings heute den Tag hier verbracht haben wissen wir das die Stadt doch gar nicht so schlimm ist und es einige nette Ecken gibt. Extra für Touris wie uns gibt es sogar zwei Touren durch die Stadt. Die Touren sind durch eine rote bzw. grüne Linie auf den Gehwegen markiert und wenn man diesen folgt kommt man an allen mehr oder weniger interessanten Sehenswürdigkeiten vorbei. Vor jeder Sehenswürdigkeit gab es sogar noch eine Infotafel mit ausführlichen Erklärungen in russisch und englisch! Top, vor allem wenn man keine Ahnung hat was man sich ansehen soll.

    Am Ende haben wir sogar noch eine Hängematte in der Stadt zum ausruhen gefunden! Die Stadt ist allerdings in kleinster Weise mit dem Glanz von Moskau oder St. Petersburg zu vergleichen. Es ist schon eine ganz andere Atmosphäre zumal man auch keinen 5000 chinesischen Reisegruppen mehr begegnet.

    Witzig sind im übrigen die Linienbusse hier: Es sind alte Busse aus Deutschland, so haben wir je einen von den Hamburger Verkehrsbetrieben und von den SWB Bonn gefunden. Zahlreiche andere fahren noch mit deutscher Werbung bzw. Warnhinweisen (wie z.B. Bitte vorne Einsteigen etc.) durch die Gegend. Eine einfache Fahrt kostet hier übrigens nur 20 Rubel (ca. 26 Cent).
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Russian Federation, Russland, Russia, Rusland, Rɔhyea, ራሺያ, روسيا, ৰুচ, Rusiya, Расійская Федэрацыя, Русия, Irisi, রাশিয়া, ཨུ་རུ་སུ་, Rusia, Rusija, Rússia, Rusko, Rwsia, Russia nutome, Ρωσία, Rusujo, Venemaa, Errusia, روسیه, Riisii, Venäjä, Russie, Ruslân, Cónaidhm na Rúise, રશિયન ફેડરેશન, Rasha, חבר המדינות הרוסיות, रूस, Oroszországi Föderáció, Ռուսաստան, ꊉꇆꌦ, Rússland, ロシア, რუსეთი, Urusi, Ресей, Ruslandi, រូស្ស៊ី, ರಶಿಯಾ, 러시아, ڕووسیا, Russi, Lasa, Risí, ລັດເຊຍ, Rusijos Federacija, Risi, Krievija, Rosia, Русија, റഷ്യ, Орос, रशिया, Russja, ရုရှ, Rashiya, Ven'a, ରୁଷିଆ, Rosja, Uburusiya, Federația Rusă, Россия, Ruošša, Rusïi, රුසියාව, Ruush, Rusi, Ryssland, ரஷ்யா, రష్య, รัสเซีย, Lūsia, Rusya, Російська Федерація, روسی, Nga, Orílẹ́ède Rọṣia, 俄罗斯, i-Russia

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