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Trip Extensions

There are currently no suggested extensions for this itinerary. Please ask the Destination Specialist if you'd like to customize one.

Anticipated itinerary; actual route may vary.

Day 1: havana, plaza de la revolution and jaimanitas

The home of artist José Fuster in JaimanitasThe home of artist José Fuster in Jaimanitas

Arrive in Havana, proceed through immigration, and step outside to meet tour leader Joslin Fritz and your Cuban team.

Enjoy your first drive-thru of Havana with two iconic stops. In central Havana, at the Plaza de la Revolution, walk across the enormous square and view the monument to Cuban hero José Marti. On the outskirts of the city, roam through whimsically charming Jaimanitas where Cuban artist José Fuster, inspired by Gaudi and Picasso, has turned his own home and the surrounding neighborhood into a showcase of fanciful, brightly colored murals and sculptures.

For the group lunch and orientation meeting, settle into the first of the many paladars you'll sample on this trip. As restaurants that are privately owned rather than government owned, paladars are a recent and welcome phenomenon in Cuba. Some have two tables and some have thirty. Each was started by a family in their own home or on their own property, and each is unique.

This afternoon, a special meeting has been arranged for your group with a Cuban professor and ambassador who will discuss the evolving relationship between the United States and Cuba. 

Late afternoon check-in at your 4-star hotel, followed by a group dinner at a lovely paladar.

Meals
Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Hotel Havana Libre or similar

Day 2: old havana and finca vigia

Many of Havana's faded pastel buildings are being restored.Many of Havana's faded pastel buildings are being restored.

The morning is devoted to exploring the four distinct plazas and the cobblestone walkways of Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lunch is at La Moneda Cubana, a paladar and a first-of-its-kind training program for young Cubans interested in learning culinary arts and private entrepreneurship.

In the afternoon, drive outside Havana to Ernest Hemingway's house and farm, Finca Vigia, which is now an indoor-outdoor museum.

Lots of choices for dinner on your own tonight.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch
Lodging
Hotel Havana Libre or similar

Day 3: behind the scenes in havana

Malpaso dance (credit to Malpaso Facebook page)Malpaso dance (credit to Malpaso Facebook page)

Start the day as many Cubans do by heading by bicycle-taxi to a local farmers market.  Then, as all young Cuban children do, head to a primary school. Meet with the headmaster, visit classrooms, and learn about the educational system in Cuba.

After lunch at a special paladar in Old Havana, drive through the tree-lined streets of Havana neighborhoods to the rehearsal space for a phenomenal modern dance troupe where you'll be privileged to preview a performance and talk with the troupe members. If time allows, also visit Havana's Sephardi Synagogue, view the sanctuary, and learn about the Cuban-Jewish community.

Again, tonight choose your dining option from many suggestions by your guide.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch
Lodging
Hotel Havana Libre or similar

Day 4: cienfuegos, the pearl of the south

The streets of CienfuegosThe streets of Cienfuegos

Depart early from Havana and its 21st century news-making. Drive by comfortable air-conditioned bus 158 miles to 19th centruy Cienfuegos. End the day in 500-year old Trinidad.

Most of the day is devoted to Cienfuegos. The historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The central plaza is greenery-filled, storybook-perfect, and surrounded by gems of colonial French architecture. The city's peninsular extension is Punta Gorda with charming clapboard houses and views out over the Bay toward the Sierra Escambray Mountains in the distance.

After lunch on the waterfront at Villa Lagarto Paladar, visit the headquarters of UNEAC, the Union of Artists and Writers of Cuba, for a presentation and Q & A with the organization's president followed by visits to artists' homes and studios.

Accommodations are in Casas Particulares, private homes certified for hosting tourists. Casas are an alternative to the typically impersonal and over-booked Cuban hotels, which are always at least 50% government owned. As accommodation, Casas are the entrepreneurial parallel to the family-owned paladars. Your group members will be staying in four or five different Casas, within a couple of blocks of one another.

 

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch
Lodging
A casa particular (private B&B)

Day 5: trinidad

See what life is like in TrinidadSee what life is like in Trinidad

After breakfast served by the family hosting you in their Casa, enjoy a walk through the botanical gardens in Cienfuegos before driving to Trinidad.

Trinidad is an astonishingly well preserved town, identified as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The central historic district is closed to vehicular traffic, and often cited as one of the most impressive colonial town centers in the Americas, with pastel buildings, ornate statuary, tall palms and serene gardens. Include a visit to a local "bodega" (grocery), where you'll see a "libretta" (ration book) and learn about Cuba's ration system. Your guide will lead you on a walking tour of the town center, then you're free to choose from lots of charming cafe options for lunch.

In an unassuming home in the town center, meet a most astonishing couple: a sculptor and wood carver whose life size portraits on recycled old wood doors are gaining international acclaim; and, his wife who markets exceptional crocheted clothing and embroidery on behalf of women in remote villages.

Group dinner included tonight at Davimart, one of Cuba's finest paladars.

Meals
Breakfast, Dinner
Lodging
A casa paritcular (private B&B)

Day 6: topes de collantes national park

Topes de Collantes National ParkTopes de Collantes National Park

From Trinidad, the drive to Topes de Collantes National Park, only an hour long, winds through the forested slopes of the Sierra del Escambray. Enjoy the view from the high look-outs, and the fresh cool air and the well-maintained trails through pine, palm, and eucalyptus stands. Note the orchids. A traditional country lunch is served in the park. Later, visit a coffee farming family nearby.

Time permitting, enjoy the option of a short drive to the ocean and a walk along the beach.

Lots of options this evening for dinner and live outdoor music at Casa de la Musica.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch
Lodging
A casa particular (private B&B)

Day 7: santa clara

Discover how small businesses are run in CubaDiscover how small businesses are run in Cuba

Depart Trinidad for a drive through the fertile farmlands of central Cuba to Santa Clara. Visit the Che Guevara Museum and Memorial before a group lunch at Paladar El Aldaba. In the afternoon, your group will have a special performance by the Piquetes Orchestra playing 200-year old instruments and by Alegrías de Vivir, a dance troupe doing traditional Danzón.

It's a short and beautiful drive to the pretty little town of Remedios, well off the tourist trail.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch
Lodging
Hotel El Camino Principe or similar

Day 8: remedios

Remedios offers a wonderful opportunity to experience life in a small Cuban town. Visit the local polyclinic to learn more about Cuba's commitment to free community healthcare. Vist a local beekeeper to learn about his community project with local children.

After a final night dinner at a paladar in Remedios, it's time for a splendid event. The locals are hosting a street party for your group where they will perform the music and costumed dance pageant that they created months earlier for the renowned Parrandas celebration. Expect families with members of all ages from babies to grandfolks to join you all for a spirited time!

Meals
Breakfast, Dinner
Lodging
Hotel Camino Principe or similar

Day 9: depart from santa clara airport

Say good-bye to CubaSay good-bye to Cuba

Bid fond farewell to Cuba.

Meals
Breakfast

Price and Date Details

Land Cost:
$4,850
Single Supplement:
$750
The single supplement is applicable if a roommate is not available or if single accommodation is specifically requested.
Privately on Request
Feb 17-25, 2018

Need to Know

Duration:
9 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost. The total number of days includes the time required to travel between the USA and the destination country.
Comfort Level:
●●●○○
(see full descriptions)
Activity Level:
●○○○○
(see full descriptions)
Group Size:
11-15
The stated range indicates minimum and maximum numbers for terms as stated on the scheduled dates.
Terms & Conditions: 

Cuba

Please note that this trip operates under different payment and cancellation policies than those described in our complete Terms & Conditions as noted on our website and elsewhere. Please review the complete Terms & Conditions prior to submitting a deposit. 

Journeys International is traveling to Cuba through the people-to-people general license from the Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control as detailed in CACR (Cuban Assets Control Regulation) 31 CFR 515.565 (b). Our itinerary focuses on meaningful cultural interaction with the Cuban people. Due to circumstances outside of our control, all activities are subject to change. 

Expenses covered

Normally, our stated land costs include the cost of all guides, leaders, permits obtained after arrival, lodging accommodations, food and entry fees as specified, and all surface transportation associated with the planned itinerary. We do our best to avoid increasing prices after receipt of your deposit, but, rarely, factors beyond our control might require us to change our prices without prior notice, even after you have signed up. 

Expenses not covered

Costs not included in the price may include: meals not indicated as included in itineraries; meals prior to arrival in starting cities; transfers, if not arriving or departing on the scheduled group flights; soft drinks, bottled water, and alcoholic beverages; medical expenses, costs of hospitalization, or evacuation from remote areas; laundry; airport departure taxes not included on your airline ticket; accommodations en route to starting cities; visas; airfares; gratuities; and insurance. 

Payment and Deposit Schedule​

Deposit is $800 per person per trip or the applicable amount based on the trip and the proximity of the departure date. Full balance per person is due 120 days prior to departure. (Note: this schedule supersedes that listed in the general Terms and Conditions.) The deposit may be made by Visa, Master Card or check, and the Reservation Form may be submitted via our website. Full payment schedule and cancellation penalties are described in our Terms and Conditions as noted on our website and elsewhere. Please request these if you do not have them before submitting a deposit.

Airfare
We can help you secure air travel arrangements to correspond with land travel booked through Journeys International. We work with an airfare consolidator to assist in booking the flights that suit your needs. If you decide to make your own flight arrangements, you must provide Journeys International with a complete copy of your itinerary showing departure and arrival flights and times. You should plan to arrange your own air travel if you are using mileage credit or originating outside North America, but please be in touch with our office before you finalize ticketing so that we can help you to coordinate the correct arrival and departure dates and times.

Insurance

When you make your reservation, we strongly recommend the purchase of comprehensive travel insurance in case of emergency situations. Please contact us for a recommended policy.

Itinerary Change Fee

There will be a $40 fee for changes once an itinerary has been confirmed and approved. Additional cancellation penalties or change fees may apply as per our terms and conditions. The passenger is responsible for such fees.

 

From the Bird's Word Blog

Cuba Travel: What We Did (And Didn’t) Expect

Two Journeys groups explored Cuba for the first time in 2016 on the itinerary we call Rhythm of a Lively Land. With so much hype around Cuba travel, there were many expectations of …

Street musicians entertain in Havana
Street musicians entertain in Havana
Take a taxi to view the sites
Take a taxi to view the sites
Meet fruit vendors in Havana
Meet fruit vendors in Havana
Delicious food awaits you in Cuba
Delicious food awaits you in Cuba
The famous Cuban cigar
The famous Cuban cigar
Visit the Palace Cienfuegos
Visit the Palace Cienfuegos
Bold Cuban art captures your imagination
Bold Cuban art captures your imagination
Dine at traditional paladeres
Dine at traditional paladeres
Watch traditional dance performances
Watch traditional dance performances

Rhythm of a Lively Land

Beauty, arts, and entrepreneurship in Havana, Trinidad, Cienfuegos and Remedios

overview

Journeys offers an unusually personal entrée into Cuba. During this 9-day trip, you’ll explore Havana, Cienfuegos, Trinidad and Remedios, talking to locals about their lives, their businesses, their art and their history. You’ll experience the natural beauty of Cuba as well, on a walk through Topes del Collantes National Park.  

This unique itinerary includes many intimate encounters that have been arranged especially for your small group. You’ll visit a school and talk to the headmaster after enjoying a performance by the students; chat with fruit vendors at a local farmers market; meet with an expert on the island’s flora and fauna; discuss Cuba’s ration system with a bodega manager; visit with young entrepreneurs to learn what it’s like to run a business in Cuba; meet with leaders of social welfare and arts associations; and more. 

Groups are limited to 15 and accompanied by vibrant veteran guide Joslin Fritz who is as passionate about Cuba as she is fluent with the language and the culture.

itinerary

See Trip Extensions
View Map

overview

Journeys offers an unusually personal entrée into Cuba. During this 9-day trip, you’ll explore Havana, Cienfuegos, Trinidad and Remedios, talking to locals about their lives, their businesses, their art and their history. You’ll experience the natural beauty of Cuba as well, on a walk through Topes del Collantes National Park.  

This unique itinerary includes many intimate encounters that have been arranged especially for your small group. You’ll visit a school and talk to the headmaster after enjoying a performance by the students; chat with fruit vendors at a local farmers market; meet with an expert on the island’s flora and fauna; discuss Cuba’s ration system with a bodega manager; visit with young entrepreneurs to learn what it’s like to run a business in Cuba; meet with leaders of social welfare and arts associations; and more. 

Groups are limited to 15 and accompanied by vibrant veteran guide Joslin Fritz who is as passionate about Cuba as she is fluent with the language and the culture.

Continue to detailed itinerary...

itinerary

Anticipated itinerary; actual route may vary.
  • Day 1: havana, plaza de la revolution and jaimanitas
    The home of artist José Fuster in JaimanitasThe home of artist José Fuster in Jaimanitas

    Arrive in Havana, proceed through immigration, and step outside to meet tour leader Joslin Fritz and your Cuban team.

    Enjoy your first drive-thru of Havana with two iconic stops. In central Havana, at the Plaza de la Revolution, walk across the enormous square and view the monument to Cuban hero José Marti. On the outskirts of the city, roam through whimsically charming Jaimanitas where Cuban artist José Fuster, inspired by Gaudi and Picasso, has turned his own home and the surrounding neighborhood into a showcase of fanciful, brightly colored murals and sculptures.

    For the group lunch and orientation meeting, settle into the first of the many paladars you'll sample on this trip. As restaurants that are privately owned rather than government owned, paladars are a recent and welcome phenomenon in Cuba. Some have two tables and some have thirty. Each was started by a family in their own home or on their own property, and each is unique.

    This afternoon, a special meeting has been arranged for your group with a Cuban professor and ambassador who will discuss the evolving relationship between the United States and Cuba. 

    Late afternoon check-in at your 4-star hotel, followed by a group dinner at a lovely paladar.

    Meals
    Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Hotel Havana Libre or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 2: old havana and finca vigia
    Many of Havana's faded pastel buildings are being restored.Many of Havana's faded pastel buildings are being restored.

    The morning is devoted to exploring the four distinct plazas and the cobblestone walkways of Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lunch is at La Moneda Cubana, a paladar and a first-of-its-kind training program for young Cubans interested in learning culinary arts and private entrepreneurship.

    In the afternoon, drive outside Havana to Ernest Hemingway's house and farm, Finca Vigia, which is now an indoor-outdoor museum.

    Lots of choices for dinner on your own tonight.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Hotel Havana Libre or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 3: behind the scenes in havana
    Malpaso dance (credit to Malpaso Facebook page)Malpaso dance (credit to Malpaso Facebook page)

    Start the day as many Cubans do by heading by bicycle-taxi to a local farmers market.  Then, as all young Cuban children do, head to a primary school. Meet with the headmaster, visit classrooms, and learn about the educational system in Cuba.

    After lunch at a special paladar in Old Havana, drive through the tree-lined streets of Havana neighborhoods to the rehearsal space for a phenomenal modern dance troupe where you'll be privileged to preview a performance and talk with the troupe members. If time allows, also visit Havana's Sephardi Synagogue, view the sanctuary, and learn about the Cuban-Jewish community.

    Again, tonight choose your dining option from many suggestions by your guide.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Hotel Havana Libre or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 4: cienfuegos, the pearl of the south
    The streets of CienfuegosThe streets of Cienfuegos

    Depart early from Havana and its 21st century news-making. Drive by comfortable air-conditioned bus 158 miles to 19th centruy Cienfuegos. End the day in 500-year old Trinidad.

    Most of the day is devoted to Cienfuegos. The historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The central plaza is greenery-filled, storybook-perfect, and surrounded by gems of colonial French architecture. The city's peninsular extension is Punta Gorda with charming clapboard houses and views out over the Bay toward the Sierra Escambray Mountains in the distance.

    After lunch on the waterfront at Villa Lagarto Paladar, visit the headquarters of UNEAC, the Union of Artists and Writers of Cuba, for a presentation and Q & A with the organization's president followed by visits to artists' homes and studios.

    Accommodations are in Casas Particulares, private homes certified for hosting tourists. Casas are an alternative to the typically impersonal and over-booked Cuban hotels, which are always at least 50% government owned. As accommodation, Casas are the entrepreneurial parallel to the family-owned paladars. Your group members will be staying in four or five different Casas, within a couple of blocks of one another.

     

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    A casa particular (private B&B)
    Show on a map
  • Day 5: trinidad
    See what life is like in TrinidadSee what life is like in Trinidad

    After breakfast served by the family hosting you in their Casa, enjoy a walk through the botanical gardens in Cienfuegos before driving to Trinidad.

    Trinidad is an astonishingly well preserved town, identified as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The central historic district is closed to vehicular traffic, and often cited as one of the most impressive colonial town centers in the Americas, with pastel buildings, ornate statuary, tall palms and serene gardens. Include a visit to a local "bodega" (grocery), where you'll see a "libretta" (ration book) and learn about Cuba's ration system. Your guide will lead you on a walking tour of the town center, then you're free to choose from lots of charming cafe options for lunch.

    In an unassuming home in the town center, meet a most astonishing couple: a sculptor and wood carver whose life size portraits on recycled old wood doors are gaining international acclaim; and, his wife who markets exceptional crocheted clothing and embroidery on behalf of women in remote villages.

    Group dinner included tonight at Davimart, one of Cuba's finest paladars.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Dinner
    Lodging
    A casa paritcular (private B&B)
    Show on a map
  • Day 6: topes de collantes national park
    Topes de Collantes National ParkTopes de Collantes National Park

    From Trinidad, the drive to Topes de Collantes National Park, only an hour long, winds through the forested slopes of the Sierra del Escambray. Enjoy the view from the high look-outs, and the fresh cool air and the well-maintained trails through pine, palm, and eucalyptus stands. Note the orchids. A traditional country lunch is served in the park. Later, visit a coffee farming family nearby.

    Time permitting, enjoy the option of a short drive to the ocean and a walk along the beach.

    Lots of options this evening for dinner and live outdoor music at Casa de la Musica.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    A casa particular (private B&B)
    Show on a map
  • Day 7: santa clara
    Discover how small businesses are run in CubaDiscover how small businesses are run in Cuba

    Depart Trinidad for a drive through the fertile farmlands of central Cuba to Santa Clara. Visit the Che Guevara Museum and Memorial before a group lunch at Paladar El Aldaba. In the afternoon, your group will have a special performance by the Piquetes Orchestra playing 200-year old instruments and by Alegrías de Vivir, a dance troupe doing traditional Danzón.

    It's a short and beautiful drive to the pretty little town of Remedios, well off the tourist trail.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Hotel El Camino Principe or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 8: remedios

    Remedios offers a wonderful opportunity to experience life in a small Cuban town. Visit the local polyclinic to learn more about Cuba's commitment to free community healthcare. Vist a local beekeeper to learn about his community project with local children.

    After a final night dinner at a paladar in Remedios, it's time for a splendid event. The locals are hosting a street party for your group where they will perform the music and costumed dance pageant that they created months earlier for the renowned Parrandas celebration. Expect families with members of all ages from babies to grandfolks to join you all for a spirited time!

    Meals
    Breakfast, Dinner
    Lodging
    Hotel Camino Principe or similar
  • Day 9: depart from santa clara airport
    Say good-bye to CubaSay good-bye to Cuba

    Bid fond farewell to Cuba.

    Meals
    Breakfast

Price and Date Details

Land Cost:
$4,850
Single Supplement:
$750
The single supplement is applicable if a roommate is not available or if single accommodation is specifically requested.
Privately on Request
Feb 17-25, 2018

Need to Know

Duration:
9 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost. The total number of days includes the time required to travel between the USA and the destination country.
Comfort Level:
●●●○○
(see full descriptions)
Activity Level:
●○○○○
(see full descriptions)
Group Size:
11-15
The stated range indicates minimum and maximum numbers for terms as stated on the scheduled dates.
Terms & Conditions: 

Cuba

Please note that this trip operates under different payment and cancellation policies than those described in our complete Terms & Conditions as noted on our website and elsewhere. Please review the complete Terms & Conditions prior to submitting a deposit. 

Journeys International is traveling to Cuba through the people-to-people general license from the Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control as detailed in CACR (Cuban Assets Control Regulation) 31 CFR 515.565 (b). Our itinerary focuses on meaningful cultural interaction with the Cuban people. Due to circumstances outside of our control, all activities are subject to change. 

Expenses covered

Normally, our stated land costs include the cost of all guides, leaders, permits obtained after arrival, lodging accommodations, food and entry fees as specified, and all surface transportation associated with the planned itinerary. We do our best to avoid increasing prices after receipt of your deposit, but, rarely, factors beyond our control might require us to change our prices without prior notice, even after you have signed up. 

Expenses not covered

Costs not included in the price may include: meals not indicated as included in itineraries; meals prior to arrival in starting cities; transfers, if not arriving or departing on the scheduled group flights; soft drinks, bottled water, and alcoholic beverages; medical expenses, costs of hospitalization, or evacuation from remote areas; laundry; airport departure taxes not included on your airline ticket; accommodations en route to starting cities; visas; airfares; gratuities; and insurance. 

Payment and Deposit Schedule​

Deposit is $800 per person per trip or the applicable amount based on the trip and the proximity of the departure date. Full balance per person is due 120 days prior to departure. (Note: this schedule supersedes that listed in the general Terms and Conditions.) The deposit may be made by Visa, Master Card or check, and the Reservation Form may be submitted via our website. Full payment schedule and cancellation penalties are described in our Terms and Conditions as noted on our website and elsewhere. Please request these if you do not have them before submitting a deposit.

Airfare
We can help you secure air travel arrangements to correspond with land travel booked through Journeys International. We work with an airfare consolidator to assist in booking the flights that suit your needs. If you decide to make your own flight arrangements, you must provide Journeys International with a complete copy of your itinerary showing departure and arrival flights and times. You should plan to arrange your own air travel if you are using mileage credit or originating outside North America, but please be in touch with our office before you finalize ticketing so that we can help you to coordinate the correct arrival and departure dates and times.

Insurance

When you make your reservation, we strongly recommend the purchase of comprehensive travel insurance in case of emergency situations. Please contact us for a recommended policy.

Itinerary Change Fee

There will be a $40 fee for changes once an itinerary has been confirmed and approved. Additional cancellation penalties or change fees may apply as per our terms and conditions. The passenger is responsible for such fees.

 

Trip Extensions

There are currently no suggested extensions for this itinerary. Please ask the Destination Specialist if you'd like to customize one.

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× comfort level
Choose accommodations and amenities that fit your personal style
●○○○○ Simple
Our most natural accommodations. Bath facilities often shared, sometimes rustic.
●●○○○ Delightful
Comfortable and especially personal. Small to mid-sized lodges, typically with private bath.
●●●○○ Superior
Lodges and hotels with additional amenities, refined artistry, or extra-special settings.
●●●●○ Deluxe
Exclusive or luxury lodges, hotels, or safari camps with fine dining options.
●●●●● Uncommon
The most indulgent accommodations arranged specially for private trips.
× activity level
Match the trip’s intensity to your ability and motivation.
●○○○○ Gentle
Easy walking, with opportunities for low-key physical activity.
●●○○○ Active
Energetic exploration with optional day hikes, leisurely cycling, or light canoeing.
●●●○○ Vigorous
Day-long active excursions and options for demanding activity in varied environments.
●●●●○ Challenging
Strenuous hiking or other intense activity that may be at high altitude or over rough terrain.
●●●●● Demanding
Multi-day trekking and other activities requiring endurance or strength. Steep trails. No technical expertise necessary.
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