Madeira- Pearl of the Atlantic

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FEBRUARY 21 HOLIDAY IS GUARANTEED- STILL PLACES LEFT

The holiday price includes flights.

THIS IS AN ESCORTED HOLIDAY WITH A UK TOUR GUIDE SUPPORTING THE LOCAL GUIDES

GUIDED WALKING IN MADEIRA'S SUPERB SCENERY

Discover the walking paradise of the garden island of Madeira - in the company of walking friends who enjoy good walking, good food, good social chatter and who appreciate the beauty of simply wonderful scenery - with British tour managers, and superb local walking guides. Madeira is an island of fascinating natural beauty, rising steeply in splendid isolation from the Atlantic ocean, off the coast of Africa.The island is of volcanic origin, and has a network of levadas (water channels) that take water to irrigate the fertile soil in the south of the island. Madeira is a modern island, having benefited from joining the European Union, and its infrastructure supports our walking holidays brilliantly.

Flowers abound, a riot of glorious colour at every turn, and Funchal - Madeira's capital is a joy with its squares, historic buildings and magnificent trees everywhere.

Once visited, never forgotten

Great reasons to join us

- meet new friends in a relaxed walking and social  atmosphere

- beautiful countryside to walk through and enjoy

- super value for money

- professional, friendly walk leaders who are passionate and knowledgeable about this area

 AND the people and culture of Madeira - simply magic

Accommodation

JUNE 24 HOLIDAY IS GUARANTEED- STILL PLACES LEFT

Hotels

We use the Hotel Orquidea in the centre of Funchal  en suite rooms are spacious, twin bedded - some with baths and some with showers.. The hotel is an ideal place to host our walking programme, having easy access to restaurants, shops, supermarkets etc surrounds where you can The hotels’ breakfasts are continental, with cheeses and ham, yogurt, fruit and fresh rolls and preserves, with plenty of tea or coffee. A hot buffet is also available. https://www.hotelorquidea.com/

Single supplements

For sole occupancy of a twin room, there is an additional £19 per night charge.

Your meals

Madeira has great walking but we also enjoy outstanding food - we eat at seven different atmospheric restaurants, in several areas of Funchal - in the old town, with its family  run businesses, the harbour, around the hotel zone, and in restaurants where locals eat. What can you expect?  Fish galore - the local espadas, sea bass , bream, sardines, tuna, and a whole bewildering array of other fish. Meat lovers are not left out as the local delicacy is beef on a bay leaf tree spit. The steaks are good, and pork features on most menus. Vegetarians are not left out either. As a complete contrast, we eat Italian on one evening. Local wine is inexpensive and surprisingly palatable. Normally you can expect to pay £16 a head for two courses.

Packed lunch

We provide a simple -  locally produced at the bakery opposite the hotel - a filled  roll and piece of fruit for packed lunch. You may need to supplement this with your own energy bars/chocolate etc. Because of the nature of our walks there is little opportunity to stop for lunch at a cafe or similar on the walks.

Flexibility

We offer you the opportunity to stay additional nights, and many people extend their weekend as they wish. Just reserve what nights you need.

Flights

Your flights

New Experience Holidays, our partners in Walking in Madeira, arrange all aspects of your flights. Flights to Madeira leave the UK on Mondays, and all the major regional airports have carriers going there. We will endeavour to secure a flight from your nearest airport, there may be a  flight supplement on the prices we have quoted in this leaflet. New Experience Holidays will quote you and in that quote any flight supplements there may be from the airport of your choice- will be shown- and may offer you other cost effective options. Any additional supplement for your flight will be payable at the time of reserving your holiday. The flight is 3.5 hours. Funchal Airport is a modern one, recently built to take account of the increasing number of holiday makers to this all the year round destination.

You will be met at the airport and transferred  to your hotel - a twenty minute journey along the fast motorway linking the airport to Funchal, and indeed many parts of the island. At the end of your holiday you will be transferred back to the airport.

Flights to Madeira generally carry a hefty flight supplement currently, so we have increased prices to cater for this. However you can expect a small flight supplement in addition to our published prices here.

Guided Walking programme

THIS IS AN ESCORTED HOLIDAY WITH A UK TOUR GUIDE SUPPORTING THE LOCAL GUIDES

The Walks- five days walking with one free day

We walk in three kinds of terrain, and this adds to the enjoyment of this holiday. Walks are 8/9 miles  long and graded moderate.

Levada walking is the most popular form of exploring this island, and we take in two levada walks - though we do add to the levada walks by venturing off the main tracks to explore. They are a joy to walk along with the constant stream of water bubbling on one side, and ever changing views of deep valleys and hillsides usually to the sea, on the other,

 

Some of our walks - all chosedn on the bais of the groups abilitry and the weather.

Riberio Frio - a breathtaking walk along a high level levada, with stunning views  over the north coast, ending in a long descent through forest and arable land. We have coffee before the start, after a 40 minutes mini bus ride, and after the walk ends. Following good quality paths, some uneven sections, and tunnels.

Pico Do Ruivo Paul and the waterfalls - after climbing Pico do Paul, with breathtaking views above St Vicente, we traverse the plain to Bica da Cana, then along a beautiful levada with glorious waterfalls on all its journey - water, water all the way, crossing several stream valleys before reaching stunning waterfalls, falling 200 feet, seemingly out of the sky.

Camacha to Monte - usually our introductory walk.

Our mountain walks are both excellent routes - the first skirts the Nuns Valley at 1200 metres, from Boca da Corrida to Encumeada underneath Pico Grande - simply breathtaking views.

 

The second is even higher at 1650 metres high, traversing two of Madeira’s highest peaks from Pico Arreirro to Pico Ruivo. The mountain walks are on good paths, with gradual climbing, and some sharp descents to test the knees. Levada walks are generally flat, some descent at the at the end of the walk.

We also walk along the coast around Machico and Porta do Cruz.The Boca do Risco walk along the coast is simply stunning. On wet weather days - you may get one - we walk along the Point St Laurenco - jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean - with super geological features.

On the south west coast we walk along the levada at Prazares, then descend to Paul do Mar from the Hotel Atlantic, or to Paul do Mar from Faja de Ovelha.

On this holiday you have five walking days and one free day

The Climate

It has a splendid climate, rarely getting above 28 degrees and below 15 degrees, and that means excellent walking conditions. It’s a haven for those who seek a relaxing walking holiday in close proximity to nature.The levada’s banks and the surrounding countryside are planted with hydrangeas, lilies and agapanthus. Its mountains are rugged and inspiring with generally good sea views. Gardens and parks are everywhere - planted with all manner of exotic trees shrubs and blooms.

Your Walk Leaders

We use local walking guides to show us the best of walking in this walking paradise - their knowledge of the history, plant life and geology is brilliant. Alan Garner is your holiday leader.We will arrange all aspects of the holiday from arrangements in the UK, to meeting you off your flight and settling  you into your hotel. We then manage your walk guiding. including all transport. We also arrange your evening meals as a group, though this is not obligatory. We have spent time selecting the best value for money restaurants in Funchal, We will also advise on where you can enjoy evening entertainment, the best places to change money and  the best places to buy those take home presents.

On this holiday you have a free day - Friday - and we will advise on where to go and how to get there.

Or simply just chill out .

Prevailing weather conditions

Madeira is a mix of sunny, warm weather- but there could be cloudy conditions and some high level mist- and be prepared for a shower or two- it is not a green paradise for no reason.

Exclusions

Although our leaders are well trained  and experienced in dealing  with different capabilities of our walking clients, if they have any concerns about  any clients ability or suitability to undertake safely any walking activity we plan or they feel that participation of an individual may affect the groups safety and cohesion, then they have full permission to exclude that client from an activity.

They will try at all times to provide an alternative suggested activity, though this may involve the client in additional local cost.

We rarely have to enforce this above recommendation, but it is a sensible and necessary protection for the individual client, the group and the leaders.

Whats included

 What you get on a Secret Hills Madeira  Holiday

  • Individual quotation
  • Flights
  • Transfer from airport to Madeira  hotel and return.
  • Bed and Breakfast accommodation
  • Packed lunch or cafe lunch
  • Guided walking- local Madeiran guides
  • Any transport needed on the walks
  • The services of a Secret Hills tour guide
  • Individual attention
  • Our administration and management service

Whats not included

Evening dinner

Walking Grades

On each Madeira holiday we have two grades of walking.- moderate and easy.

On the moderate walks - 8/9miles - we ascend and descend at least once per day - up to 300 metres but generally over an hour and a half. Pace is critical - we don't rush, there's too much to see, but we do stride out where it is possible. Underfoot conditions in Madeira are generally good - it is volcanic soil and there can be some rocky sections - and we take care on these sections.

On the easy walks - which  may also include some sightseeing of villages. towns, gardens and things of interest generally - we won't walk as fast, have plenty of stops and probably cover 5/6 miles.This will be done over the whole of the day.

There will be hills to ascend/descend but we will take these very steadily - we do not rush our clients.As with the walking grade - underfoot conditions in Madeira can be stony - it is - and we take care on those sections. The pace is slower, not snail pace but enough to give you a good stroll, and to allow you to enjoy the wonderful Madeiran countryside.

You will find the easy walking holiday advertised under Strolling and Exploring on our web site.

Each day you have the choice of either walking or strolling.

Madeira - The Pearl of the Atlantic

If you want a holiday that is adventurous and romantic, that’s completely unique and different, and yet, one that’s totally unforgettable and exotic? Madeira’s just the place. With fuchsia Bougainvillea, scarlet Poinsettias and lilac Jacaranda trees blanketing the landscape in quilts of exotic blooms throughout the year. Located in the Atlantic Ocean, just north-west of the Canary islands and a little further away from Africa, it is famous for its’ balmy summers and warm winters making it the ideal holiday destination all year. Madeira has two sides, north and south, separated by a mountainous spine. The south warm and sunny, whilst the north a little cooler.
Its capital city,. Funchal has over the years retained a charm of its own with whitewashed colonial buildings, 15th century churches, picturesque squares and relaxing promenades.

The narrow back streets of the old part of the town are packed with tavernas, the contrasting Marina has a more cosmopolitan vibe, with its’ pavement café’s and excellent seafood restaurants specializing in freshly grilled lobster. The Madeira Botanical Gardens set high above Funchal is easy to reach by car, bus, or the preferred method of the Teleférico Cable Car. Connecting the Gardens with the old town of Funchal, the cable car floats over gorges and hillsides with stupendous views on offer. For the energetic and adventurous Madeira offers endless opportunities from mountain walking, hiking to para-gliding. Levadas were once used to bring water down from the mountains to the fields, now they are Madeira’s prime walking territory. Covering 2,000 kilometres, this natural network of routes encapsulates stunning countryside. The islands of the Madeira Archipelago not only have beautiful seascapes but have an abundance of marine wildlife.

A. walking paradise -  Madeira will surprise you, enchant you. Join us and enjoy.

Insurances needed

Insurance - you need to be fully covered

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against travel,medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). Our partners New Experience holidays will ask for this information as a condition of reserving a place.

If you are a UK citizen and travelling in Europe you should obtain the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from your Post Office. This gives you medical care at a reduced cost, and some cases for free, in many European countries, but should not be considered a substitute for adequate insurance

 

Customer comments

 

Gayle Sturrock - Madeira November 2021. Thanks for looking after us all Alan. It was a great holiday and experience. I will book again. All the best Gayle 

 

Caroline Whorlow - Madeira, November 2021.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Very happy with the response from Secret Hills, always swift and very informative. Guided walking - As ever well organised. Yes (I would reserve another holiday) and have also recommended to others.

 

Colin Harrison - Madeira, November 2021.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Usual friendly informative service. Extremely well organised. The hotel was very good, absolutely nothing adverse to report. The walking in Madeira was superb and offered great variety with wonderful views. Roberto and Miguel were first class guides. A thoroughly enjoyable holiday, Madeira is an excellent walking destination. Another most enjoyable holiday, Alan, Well done and thanks.

 

David Sharp - Madeira, November 2021.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   I had never experienced a guided walking holiday but the selection of walks, the guiding (with Roberto and colleague) and Alan’s organisation of the walks, evening dinner arrangements, lunches etc were all excellent… I thoroughly enjoyed the holiday, very sociable group and great walking / hiking experience. Many thanks to Alan and team.

 

Tony King - Madeira, November 2021.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Pre holiday information - Good, everything I needed to know and more. Hotel very good. Guided walking experience - It was excellent, very enjoyable. I would definitely do another holiday and recommend your holidays to others. Overall a great trip, everything was excellent.

 

Ruth Gurney, Madeira - November 2019.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I have an account, so familiar with Secret Hills Walking website.  Find website easy to access and appreciate section details given for each holiday. Pre-holiday information effective - appreciated Alan's email shortly before departure with a few extra details. Very much enjoyed the walking. Local guide, Honorio, was an excellent leader - knowledgeable, caring, considerate, great fun to be with - good partnership with Alan, coping with needs of the group. Eating out for evening meal - some venues were better than others, but I appreciated the effort to get us experiencing different foods. I would recommend and reserve another holiday. Three years ago, I booked last minute with a wonky knee - and was impressed that Alan and local guide ensured I did as much as I could and had a great holiday. This year, I booked Madeira with confidence knowing I would be "catered for" and was not disappointed! Thank you Honorio and Alan for a great week. It was a "mixed group" - gelled quickly - "we met as strangers and left as friends".

 

Barbara Frisch-Klopper, Madeira, November 2019.  This was my second trip with Secret Hills. I totally recommend Secret Hills for Trips anywhere in their upcoming areas. Madeira trip was well organized, well thought out, good for all levels and fun for all. Our meals were planned, easily to get to by walking and very reasonably priced, Very tasty and representative of the island of Madeira. Alan was very easy to work with, as was the local guide.

 

Francesca Walton - Madeira, November 2019.
Fantastic organisation from beginning to end. First walking and solo holiday, so was great to have all everything arranged from transfers, tours, meals etc. Hotel, great central location and good base hotel for the week. Very clean. Lovely group and Alan is a brilliant tour leader.
'Would you reserve another holiday with Secret Hills Walking and would you recommend our Holidays to others?'  Yes and yes.

 

Elaine Brookes - Madeira, November 2019.
Organisation of holiday, excellent. Guided walking well communicated and planned. Very enjoyable - my first ever walking holiday.

 

Andrew Sesemann - Madeira November 2018

Alan,thanks for a great holiday - very enjoyable.

 

Marilyn Moyse - Madeira November 2018

I Loved the holiday. It suited me. There were varying walks both in terms of scenery and difficulty.

 

Julia Carroll- Madeira November 2018.

I had a lovely time in Madeira. It was nice to be based in a city which provides an extra dimension to the holid

 

Marilyn Moyse - Madeira November 2018

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Madeira and very much appreciated the work you put in to give us all a good holiday. The walks were varied in both scenery and difficulty. There was something for everyone.

I look forward to using Secret Hills again in the not too distant future.

 

Chris Thornley - Madeira November 2018 

Really enjoyed the holiday, a bit of a challenge, but it just goes to show a bit of encouragement goes a long way. I enjoyed the company of everyone in the group and would do another one without hesitation.

 

Harry and Penny Smith Maderia November 2017

 Hi Alan,

 Many thanks for organising a lovely holiday with great guides, good food and good company. Look forward to travelling with you again in the future.

Once again thank you for a wonderfully organised holiday. We had a brilliant time but it's  cold here. As I said to you the walk up to the highest peak was the most dramatic walk we have ever done and that includes Nepal. We hope you have a  Christmas.

 

 Margery Snider  Maderia November 2017

 The Levada walking is a special experience, the country is so beautiful, and Funchal is a nice city to spend time in.

 

Dave & Ann Bambury  Maderia November 2017

 Great guides. Honario and Roberto.I would want to walk with them again. They gave me a lot of confidence and I did walks that I would have thought would have been beyond me.

 

Elaine Porter Maderia November 2017

Very good organization without feeling bossed about, our holiday was brilliant. Our 4th holiday and already thinking about a 5th. Secret hills is brilliant

 

Ann Allman Maderia November 2017

The hotel was very nice, great location to shops, restaurants, town centre and the bay. Enjoyable breakfast with sufficient choices. Clean well presented bedrooms with comfortable bed however the lighting in the bedroom was poor. both guides were very friendly, congenial, knowledgeable and accommodation. They went out of their way to help and assist all the guests. Transfers, flights, walks, restaurants . All 5 star. You’re all doing a wonderful job and I appreciate all the hard work put in before and after the trip. Thank you!!

 

Christine Ringer - Maderia April 2017

Our guide Honorio was attentive and informative, we felt in a safe pair hands of hands. I enjoyed the total experience and the wet added to the challenge and feeling of achievement. Alan Garner had his work cut-out keeping the group buoyant during the wet conditions. He looked after us well and was very understanding and accommodating. 

 

Sheena Mackenzie - Madeira November 2016

The hotel was conveniently located for walking to local restaurants in the evening, buying water etc and exploring Funchal on the non-walking day.  I enjoyed sampling the menus in different local restaurants in the evening

 

Caroline Lumb Maderia - November 2016

The mountain walks were stunning, also the coastal views.  Sometimes the levada walking was a bit dull.  Honorio was full of useful information and Chris did an excellent job as rear marker - very supportive

 

Carole Bright Madeira- November 2016
Both Ian and Chris were excellent. Lots of patience, great organisers, everything ran very smoothly. There must be so much behind the scenes work! All evening meals good and it is nice to sample the various places we were taken to. Madeira and Funchal super. 

 

Jenny Oxyley- Madeira November 2016

The walks were a good length, some more challenging than others both the Leader and “Back marker” did a first rate job.  The guided walking experience was organised extremely well.  Having a packed lunch arranged was a bonus as finding time to shop each morning can be tedious!The icing on the cake was the selection of restaurants that were organised for each night.  All having great food and at fair prices.

 

Barry Gregory - Madeira November 2014

I enjoyed all aspects of the Madeira holiday (except for the cold that started up part–way through ). It is a beautiful island and the walking in the mountains is both dramatic and challenging. We were fortunate with the weather on every day apart from Sunday. All the evening food was excellent with generous portions and great flavors. Having found a recipe on the Internet, I plan to make a batch of fish soup in the next few days!! Most of all, the group got on very well together. 

 

Lin and John Chesshire - Madeira - November 2014

John and I loved every minute of Madeira. A delightful island with varied, often challenging but always interesting walks. Once again thank you both so much for your care, attention to detail and obvious love of the outdoors. We will be joining you again. 

 

Eve and Garry Parmenter Madeira November 2014

Thank you for a super holiday, we both thoroughly enjoyed it.  Adventurous walks for me and manageable walks for Eve. Perfect! I have attached some photos that may be of interest. All the best, Garry & Eve

 

Trudy Ann Wibberly Madeira November 2014

Well Allan and Chris you did it again, what a fabulous holiday in Madeira everything just perfect  as we have come to expect with Secret Hills good company, good food and great walks to suit all tastes. Talking of tastes, never has an ice cream tasted so good in the pouring rain..... Can't wait for my next holiday with you.

 

Ellie and Barry Hubbard Madeira - November 2014

Enjoyed the holiday very much and we look forward to seeing you both again. Any time you need help with the Peak District walks just let me know and I will join you if I can.
Barry

 

Jane Allard Madeira November 2014

Hi Alan and Chris. Thank you both for a lovely holiday. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

 

Our relationship with New Experience Holidays/ATOL bonding

Our Partners in Europe Walking

Secret Hills Walking are pleased to be associated with New Experience Holidays, who organise flights, accommodation and transfers for these holidays and provide you with ATOL security.
All your joining instructions and individual flight arrangements will be made by Paul and Deborah Sawyer. Once you have committed to a holiday, and have accepted the individual quote we send, we will forward a New Experience reservation form, and you should pay all deposits and final payments to New Experience Holidays.
Secret Hills Walking is responsible for marketing and selling the holidays and for arranging your itinerary when you arrive at the airport in the country you are visiting. You will receive individual attention throughout your holiday from us.

ATOL Bonding - New Experience Holidays REGISTRATION

 

 

 

 

Add extra days or nights to your holiday

You can add extra days and nights to your holiday with us. 

There is much to explore in the island of Madeira - so ask us to quote you for the extra nights you need.

Of course you can add extra nights by organising these your self

 The beautiful city of Funchal itself is a joy to spend time in, and explore.Whilst the beautiful countryside with its magnificent flowers live up to the islands name - the Pearl of the Atlantic

 To learn about what you can do, see and explore in this beautiful region, look at the following web sites.

http://www.madeira-web.com/PagesUK/funchal.html

http://www.visitmadeira.pt/en-gb/homepage

http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Europe/Portugal/Regiao_Autonoma_da_Madeira/Madeira_Island-285785/TravelGuide-Madeira_Island.html

 

 

 

How to book a holiday

Do not book on line at this point. Read on and follow the instructions

In order to conform with ATOL bonding requirements, prior to you reserving a holiday with us, we need to provide you with an official quotation. This will contain all the details and costs of the holiday and your requested choice of flights and airports. You will find a GET QUOTE button at the top of the page, use this and fill in the form in order to start the quotation process. Once you have filled in the Quotation Request form, you will get an email confirmation from us.

We partner with New Experience Holidays who provide the ATOL bonding, so all quotations will be sent by them, and you will reserve and pay for your holiday with them.

The quotation process - ATOL BONDING requirement- the quotation is the first part of the contract between us and you.

The quotation will include

- the basic price of the holiday as advertised

- any flight supplement from the airport of your choice

- single supplement if this applies

- a choice of flights if this is applicable

- any specific requirement such as additional nights/ sea view rooms etc.

- final price and payment information

The Quotation stage - who sends you your quotation

In order to conform  to ATOL bonding protection rules, New Experience Holidays will send you your full quotation normally by email- please ask if you want to receive the quotation by post.

Your contacts at New Experience Holidays are Matthew Newcombe, Anna  Brown and Paul Sawyer.

We need to know your preferred departure airport. We can guide you about the right airport and options - simply read the web pages for the country you are wanting to visit, or email us for flight advice.

The Booking Process

Once you have accepted the quotation, fill in a New Experience booking form (this can be done online) or send in the completed form,  and pay both the deposit – normally £125 - plus any additional flight supplements to New Experience.Holidays  Final payment is also made to New Experience.Holidays.

Once you have booked, you will not be sent a reminder of when to pay the full amount, so please diarise this.

About three weeks prior to departure, New Experience Holidays will send you holiday joining details, including your flight details with instruction to print off your boarding cards.

Once you arrive at your holiday destination

Secret Hills Walking Holidays (Slovenia Walking Holidays) organise all aspects of your holiday– including guiding, transport to walks start and provide you with an experienced tour guide.You make your won arrangements to get to the airport in the UK, we meet you at the airport you are flying to, and help you with your transfer to the appointed hotel.

It is important to read New Experience Holidays' Terms and Conditions - click on the tab on their web site  - before you sign the booking form.

Holiday Highlights

- An Island Paradise- fantastic walking on the mountains and coast of this paradise

- scenery that is unique some as a World Heritage site

-   stay in a beautiful historic city

- Flowers everywhere, lots of formal and informal gardens

- our relaxed social approach

- warm evenings that entrance you

- the Madeiran cuisine to delight you

- UK tour guide as well as local guides

Changes in European travel rules in 2021

We have now left the European Union and from January 1 2021, new guidance from UK government is issued. These new rules are simple but you need to make sure you are complying with them.See the UK governments guidelines. See 

https://www.gov.uk/visit-europe-1-january-2021

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Our Promise To You
You matter to us & we promise to provide you with a superb walking & social holiday, tailored specifically to your needs. We provide walking holidays for walkers & as walkers ourselves, we appreciate & understand the requirements of a walking holiday.

What Others Said...

Richard Hibberb Church Stretton and Shropshire Hills March 2015 Hi Alan , it was nice to meet you and your team last w/e. The holiday was great. The hotel was a bit tatty but I seemed to have the best room so no complaints from me. The walking was quite hard cos of the steep hills but we all coped and Ian and Julie were great guides. I spotted you on the internet and am planning on another holiday possibly on the South Downs or Cotswold. The small number of people meant that we got to know each other and it was a very friendly group.

Richard Hibberb

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