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Lourdes, Fátima & the Way of St. James

13 days Religious Heritage
The remote villages and vibrant cities of France, Spain and Portugal that you’ll visit on this tour have lured Christian pilgrims since the dawn of the Middle Ages. Explore churches in the heart of Paris. Walk the well-paved route to Santiago de Compostela, final resting grounds for St. James, Spain’s patron saint. Then, soak up the incredible seaside culture in San Sebastian, one of Europe’s most beautiful cities.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Maximum tour group size: 35 travelers

Tour Pace: You will walk for about 1.5 hours daily across mostly flat terrain and paved roads, with some hills and stairs.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 11 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 5 three-course dinners with beer or wine

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach and high-speed TGV train

  • Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

Map of Spain, France & Portugal

Overnight Flight 1 night

Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Paris today.

Paris 2 nights Hotel info

Day 2: Arrival in Paris

  Included meals: Dinner

Welcome to France! Meet your fellow travelers at tonight’s welcome dinner.

Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Paris

  Included meals: Breakfast

A guided tour introduces you to the architecture, scenery and history of the City of Light’s many neighborhoods, called arrondissements.

• Enter Saint-Sulpice Church, a Baroque masterpiece

• Drive down the sycamore-lined Champs-Élysées in view of the Arc de Triomphe

• Pass the legendary Notre-Dame Cathedral, located on an island in the Seine River 

• See the Eiffel Tower, the Palais Garnier opera house and Place de la Concorde, the city’s grandest square 

• Marvel at the eclectic and iconic architecture of the Louvre

Enjoy a free afternoon in Paris or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Dinner in Paris & Seine River Cruise $115pp* Details

Take in the nighttime allure of the City of Light on a special evening excursion. The event begins with dinner at a local restaurant. After you dine, board a boat cruise along the Seine. As you coast along the river and under Paris’ bridges, you’ll behold the gloriously illuminated monuments of Paris glittering alongside the riverbanks. Please note: The dress code may vary depending on your restaurant. Your Tour Director will advise you on what to wear, but shorts and sneakers are likely to be considered inappropriate attire.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $125)

Lourdes 2 nights Hotel info

Day 4: Travel to Lourdes

  Included meals: Breakfast

Take the high-speed TGV train through the French countryside to Lourdes, France’s most sacred Christian pilgrimage site.

Day 5: Sightseeing tour of Lourdes

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Discover Lourdes, the once-sleepy mountain town that was transformed into one of the world’s most-visited religious sites.

• Enter the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes to see the Rosary Basilica and the Grotto of Massabielle, a healing site where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared

• Step inside the Basilica of Saint Pius X, completed in 1957

• Visit the houses of Bernadette

San Sebastian 2 nights Hotel info

Day 6: Travel to San Sebastian

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Travel over the Pyrenees, stopping in the village of Saint-Jean-de-Luz en route to the seaside city of San Sebastian, Spain.

Day 7: Sightseeing tour of San Sebastian

  Included meals: Breakfast

Take a guided walking tour of San Sebastian, a city bordered by both green mountains and a beautiful coastline. 

• Pass by Playa de la Concha

• Explore the town’s Old Quarter, where Isabel II spent her vacations

• Discover Plaza de la Constitución, once a site for medieval bullfights

• Taste Txakoli, a dry white wine produced in Basque Country, at a local bar

León 1 night Hotel info

Day 8: León via Burgos

  Included meals: Breakfast

On your way to León, stop for a tour of Burgos and its enormous Gothic cathedral.

• Take in the cathedral’s beauty and the architecture of its chapels

• See the tombs of El Cid and his wife, both buried in the cathedral in 1919

Santiago de Compostela 2 nights Hotel info

Day 9: The Way of St. James

  Included meals: Breakfast

Travel to Santiago de Compostela, the destination of medieval pilgrims, and walk the last mile of the Way of St. James route.

Later, enjoy a free evening in Santiago de Compostela or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Traditional Galician Dinner $79pp* Details

For a true taste of Galicia, sit down to a succulent dinner at a local restaurant in Santiago de Compostela. Savor the freshest seafood and meat specialties Spain has to offer as you choose from a variety of menu options. As you dine, enjoy some of the region’s finest wines including Ribiero, Godello or Albariño. At the end of the meal, observe the preparation ritual of Queimada, a drink of distilled spirits blended with herbs, fruits and spices.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $89)

Day 10: Sightseeing tour of Santiago de Compostela

  Included meals: Breakfast

Walk through Santiago de Compostela, a town that once ranked just behind Jerusalem and Rome as one of Christendom’s most important pilgrimage sites.

• Stroll along the ancient city’s narrow streets

• Enter the Gothic twin-spired cathedral

• View Praza do Obradoiro, the 9th-century monastery and the 17th-century fountain 

Enjoy a free afternoon in Santiago de Compostela or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Cape Finisterre Coastal Pilgrimage $85pp* Details

Make your way to the Galician Coast, stopping at the Río Xallas waterfalls in Mirador de Ézaro on the way. Arrive in the traditional fishing village of Fisterra, where you'll enjoy an included lunch and free time to explore. Then, continue on toward Cape Finisterre, the final destination for pilgrims on the Way of St. James. End your excursion taking in picturesque views of the coastal cliffs and famous lighthouse. Please note: The weather in autumn and winter can be cold and humid.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $95)

Fátima 1 night Hotel info

Day 11: Sightseeing tour of Fátima

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Journey to Fátima to tour the famed Catholic site where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared six times to three shepherd children.

• Explore the Basilica of Our Lady of Fátima and itsgrotto

• Find out about the three Secrets of Fátima at the Houses of Jacinta

Lisbon 1 night Hotel info

Day 12: Sightseeing tour of Lisbon

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Make your way to Lisbon, where a local guided introduces you to the landmarks of the Portuguese capital.

• Step inside Ajuda National Palace

• View Belém Tower, the Maritime Monument and Jerónimos Monastery

• Pass the Alfama district, the city’s oldest section

Later, join your group for a farewell dinner.

Day 13: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

How's the weather?

  • Paris, France
  • Lourdes, France
  • San Sebastian, Spain
  • León, Spain
  • Santiago de Compostela, Spain
  • Fátima, Portugal
  • Lisbon, Portugal
Temperature Precipitation
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
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  • SEP
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  • NOV
  • DEC

Passport & Visa Requirements

This tour includes the following countries: France, Spain and Portugal. In order to enter these countries, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport. The expiration date must extend at least six months beyond the date of your return home. No visa is required for U.S. or Canadian citizens. If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact each country’s consulate for your particular entry requirements.

Baggage Allowance

Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage; be advised that you are responsible for any such costs. Contact your airline for detailed information regarding luggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other internal transfers, which may include train connections or flights. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 total inches (length + width + height). Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag.

Baggage Handling

Please note that porter service cannot be guaranteed on the TGV train. Please be prepared to handle your own baggage.

Clothing & Packing Tips

The countries on this itinerary tend to be cool and often damp at certain times of year. Loose-fitting, layered clothing that can accommodate varying temperatures will probably be most comfortable. A sun hat, sunglasses and a sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers are recommended for sightseeing. It’s always a good idea to be prepared for any eventuality—a lightweight sports jacket and rainwear are advised. If you plan to visit an elegant restaurant or attend the opera or theater, you will probably feel more comfortable with something formal to wear. Also, remember that it is preferable not to visit churches or other religious sites with bare legs and shoulders (and entrance may be denied on this basis).

Health

There are no major health risks when traveling to France, Spain and Portugal. However, it is always advisable to check with your doctor or health care provider for the latest updates.

Cuisine

Throughout France, you’ll find endless opportunities to sample wonderful food at every price range. For the most casual snack or picnic, stop at a small grocery store for cheeses, patés, cured meats, fresh-baked bread and fruit. Mouthwatering pastries and hot café au lait beckon from the cafés. On the restaurant scene, the prix fixe option is popular, offering a three- or four-course set menu for a good price. Spain boasts a wide array of local specialties such as the typical dish of chicken, seafood and saffron rice known as paella. Dinner is less hearty than lunch and is served quite late—from 9pm until midnight. Portuguese cooking relies heavily on seafood: dishes made with shrimp, octopus, lobster and cod are especially delicious. Portugal is also well-known for its breads and other baked goods as well as savory sausages. You might wish to sample local vintages of port wine, one of the nation’s most popular exports.

Transportation

Flights arrive in Paris and depart from Lisbon. After clearing customs and collecting your luggage, a shuttle service will provide your transfer to your hotel (details will be sent to you prior to your departure). Included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach and train. In your free time, most locations are best accessed on foot.

Electricity

All destinations operate on the European standard 220 volts.

Time Zones

France and Spain are two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST). When it’s noon in New York, it’s 6pm in these countries. Additionally, Portugal is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST). When it’s noon in New York, it’s 5pm in Portugal.

Currency

The euro is the currency you will be using on your tour. Better rates of exchange are usually available overseas, although it is worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. We strongly advise that you take debit/bank cards and credit cards, which can be used to withdraw cash at local banks, as needed. You can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but make sure to check with your home bank about withdrawal fees. We suggest that you inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.

Tipping

At the conclusion of your tour, it is customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.

See what our travelers say about this tour—all reviews are authentic and unedited.

Have you been on tour with us? Visit My Account to submit a review.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 6/16/2016

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: FL

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

Great Tour Group

The people in the tour group were great travelling companions: considerate, energetic, flexible, and fun. Our tour director was outstanding and polled the group for changes and even added stops to further embellish the trip. The weather was great and the itinerary rich with church history. A few hotels could have been more plush and a few restaurants could have provided more sumptuous offerings, but the trip was very enjoyable.

 

Hi Nancy! We’re pleased to hear you enjoyed your tour group and Tour Director. We’re also happy you had good weather – how fortunate! We appreciate your feedback regarding your accommodations and will be sure to pass it along to our Operations team for consideration. Thank you for your review, and we hope to welcome you on tour again.

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | July 01, 2016

3 / 5

3 / 5

Tour Date: 5/12/2016

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: MA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

Trip Good But French Hotels Bad

First, I was impressed with our tour guide Paz. She was a delight and I am also glad it was a smaller group as we were able to form some friendships. However, I am writing because of the hotels, especially the ones in France- The Oceania in Paris and the Hotel Mercure in Lourdes. In your brochures and on the website there is a focus on “handpicked” hotels. My experience at these hotels has me wondering what your criteria is, and who picked the hotels. 1) The tour company is well aware that the overseas flights arrive early in the morning. This is the first time I have gone on a tour where the hotel was not ready to receive guests. We had requested 2 rooms, and would have been happy with one room being available, but that was not the case. In addition, the Go Ahead hotline was of no assistance. 2) The sheets on one of the rooms were dirty—stained. It was not noticed until the next day. 3) Breakfast in the morning consisted of a display of food, included powdered eggs. The scrambled eggs were made from a powder in order to save money. As one of group was former military, they recognized them. There is no excuse for not providing real eggs. It was a way for the hotel to save money with the belief that there will be no repercussions. 4) The hotel was located at the end of the line in an area that was 30 minutes away from central Paris. As we were only there a short time, this was inconvenient. It also required line changes. In order to be able to see the sights we took taxis as did most in our group in order to maximize our time there. 5) The Paris tour ended at a church known in the book, The Davinci Code. Please remove this from the tour. The windows are broken and the painting has been under restoration for years and cannot be viewed. In Lourdes, although the hotel was in a more convenient location, the breakfast was horrible. The Hotel Mecure has a lovely breakfast on the mezzanine level, but tour groups are sent to the basement. There is 1 croissant each set at the tables and a limited breakfast with again the powdered eggs. I know that most everyone in the group would have paid more for better hotels and a flight or earlier train to Lourdes. Yes, I did note that there was an earlier, more expensive train that could have been taken. I found in this case, as a first time Go Ahead tour traveler, disappointed. The cost cutting measures were evident, and this is the first time I traveled on a tour and felt that way. I am disappointed in the hotels in general because of their location of at minimum at 20 minute walk from the main sights. However, the French, handpicked hotels were alarming. Although I have told people about the tour, I have given them a caveat to book their own hotels in France. I did said this as a letter to go ahead tours and did not receive a response. My caveat-- look into the location of the hotels and the reviews of the hotels.

 

Dear Cynthia, We are glad one of our Quality Control team members was able to speak with you today regarding your tour. We regret that your experience did not meet your expectations. We appreciate your feedback and will be communicating it to the relevant departments. Regarding the hotels, we can understand your frustration with not being able to check-in upon arrival. Unfortunately, when hotels are very busy, they must default to their check-in time policy, in order to have enough time to clean all the rooms. Go Ahead has no control over this and therefore could not be of further assistance at the time. That said, we will look at ways to avoid the frustration you felt in the future. We are certainly alarmed to hear that one of the rooms didn’t appear to be clean and will be taking this issue up with the hotel. In terms of location, we choose our hotels based on the following criteria: location, comfort, cleanliness, and charm, so there are a lot of factors that come into play. We must also work with the hotels who can accommodate our group sizes, which can sometimes be challenging. These many factors determine our hotel choices, and with the ongoing feedback we receive from travelers, we are often trying new properties. Regarding the breakfasts, we appreciate your thoughts on what was lacking and we will definitely be communicating this to our Operations team so that they can explore other options with our hotel partners. We also appreciate the itinerary change suggestion in Paris regarding the church and will communicate this to our Product Development team. Regarding the letter you sent to our offices, we regrettably haven’t received it and will be keeping an eye out for it in the mail. As discussed on the phone, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any further questions or comments regarding your tour. We are grateful for your valuable feedback, and we will be sure to use it in improving this tour. Thank you for your review, and we hope to welcome you on tour again.

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | June 14, 2016

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 11/6/2015

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: PA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Moving experiences

Since I was a young girl I have wanted to travel to Fatima. This trip was the answer to that dream. Everything was well organized for such a hectic schedule. Seven hotels in 13 days! All the hotels were clean and comfortable. The meals that were part of the tour were delicious and the recommendations by Roberta, our tour director were excellent. She is a real gem: educational and entertaining. Be aware that a lot of territory is covered with long bus rides between cities. These rides were, for me, the most tiring part of the tour. However, the buses were clean and comfortable, the drivers were pleasant and the scenery was beautiful. There were a few disappointments for me. On the morning that we spent in Leon, the cathedral was closed. I really looked forward to visiting it and seeing it's famed stained glass windows. That was not the fault of Go Ahead Tours. I would have liked at least 24 hours total in Fatima. This could have been accomplished by leaving Fatima later and having less free time in Lisbon. I must mention that while we were on this tour, the terrible attacks in Paris occurred. On the day of the attack, our group was safely in Spain. At no time did I feel vulnerable and I am certain that behind the scenes, our welfare was a priority for GoAhead. I highly recommend this tour anyone who wants to make a pilgrimage without the trip becoming too religiously intense.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 10/8/2015

Number of Past Tours: 5

From: PA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Very interesting tour!

I was very excited about this trip since I signed up for it and it went beyond my expectations. My main interest originally was Santiago de Compostela but there was so much else I enjoyed - Paris, Lourdes, Fatima, Lisbon and many places in between. Marcello was a great tour director with lots of suggestions and experience. I made a lot of friends for life too!

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 8/13/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: NY

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Great tour director

We had a wonderful time, our tour director went out of her way to make our trip memorable.She was fluent in many languages a big plus when you go to three different countries with three different languages. It is my first time traveling with GO AHEAD TOUR and will use them again.In Paris our hotel was in Montmarte great location close to the moulin rouge, the museums . In Fatima we were less than 3 0 feet from the Basilica, in Lourdes 2 short blocs from the shrine .Stephania hope to travel with you soon

3 / 5

3 / 5

Tour Date: 6/4/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: NY

Tour Director: 3 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

Main highlights of the trip : Lourdes & The Way of St James

This tour was very inviting to me when I read the places that we were visiting but did not meet my expectancies of a tour designed to cover places of Christian heritage except for Lourdes, Burgos & the way of St James as the Basilica at Fatima was closed for renovations. Only recommend the optional in Paris with dinner & boat ride as the Galician Meal served was not a Typical Meal of that region. The Tour to Finistere or last optional was cancelled & I still have not been able to get my refund back. I also suggest to everyone buying their roundtrip airport transfers to confirm flight number & arriving time at least 3 times with Go ahead as I called the company 2 times before my trip for this purpose but the tour representative never showed up at the gate.

 

Dear Traveler, Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback in this review. We can understand your disappointment that the Basilica at Fatima was partly closed due to renovations. The basilica will be under construction for the remainder of 2015 in preparation for its centennial celebration. However, tour groups will still be able to visit the Sanctuary. Due to daily changes in the renovations, some areas of the property may be inaccessible at certain times. We regret that this renovation impacted your tour experience negatively in any way. We are still in the process of processing refunds for your tour departure, and we apologize for the delay. During our busy season it can take extra time to process any necessary refunds, but please be assured we are working diligently to get these taken care of as soon as possible. We also would like to apologize with the mix up with your airport transfer and will be looking into the issue to be sure this does not happen again. Thank you again for taking the time to write this review and share your insight with us. We hope to have the pleasure of welcoming you back on tour sometime soon!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | August 21, 2015

3 / 5

3 / 5

Tour Date: 6/4/2015

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: NJ

Tour Director: 3 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

Basilica at Fatima Closed Until 2017

There were some good; and not so good parts of the tour. The hotels were nice, but located 1 to 2 miles from the city center so unless you are up for a walk, you have to take a cab to find a restaurant; if you don't want to eat in the hotel. The high-speed train was nice, but was very unorganized and stressful trying to board with your luggage; as there is no assistance. When we arrived in Lourdes, our bus was not there and we had to wait 30 minutes for it to arrive. By the time we arrived to our hotel, it was 9:30pm and there was not a restaurant in the hotel, which meant we had to walk around to find someplace to eat after being on a train for over 6 hours and waiting for our bus. While the tour director was very sweet and concerned about the people on the tour, he really didn't know much about the areas we visited or the amount of time it takes to get from one place to another. This was the first tour I've ever been on where the tour director never spoke a word on the bus sharing information about the areas we were driving through, history, or landscape. I felt there was way too much down time on the tour. The biggest disappointment was when we arrived at Fatima and were told the Basilica was closed for renovation in preparation of the 100 year anniversary in 2017. I felt that this should have been communicated by Go Ahead since this tour highlights Lourdes, Fatima and the Way of St. James. Lourdes and Santiago de Compostela were wonderful places to visit.

 

Thank you very much for your important and constructive feedback. We are so happy to hear that you enjoyed your visit to Lourdes and Santiago de Compostela, and are disappointed to hear about the aspects of your trip that you have described as ‘not so good’. Our quality team works closely with our operations department to turn this type of feedback into action to improve future tours, and we are taking your comments very seriously. We too are very unhappy that you were unable to visit the Basilica at Fatima due to renovations, and understand your frustration. While the basilica is under construction for the remainder of 2015 in preparation for its centennial celebration, tour groups will still be able to visit the Sanctuary. However, at certain times some areas of the property may be inaccessible. Here at Go Ahead, we understand that, often, the defining factor of any good tour is the Tour Director. For this reason, we hand select individuals who consistently receive outstanding reviews, and are able to deliver the insider information and local touch that make Go Ahead tours truly exceptional. We are surprised and disappointed to hear that you were unimpressed with your Tour Director’s knowledge of the areas your tour visited. This should never be the case, and we are taking your comments along with the feedback from your fellow travelers’ evaluations into account regarding this individual in the future. Should you have any further comments or questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us and we would be happy to discuss your feedback with you further.

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | July 02, 2015

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 6/5/2014

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: SD

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Dream come true

For many years I have wanted to do a pilgrimage to Lourdes & Fatima. When a girlfriend found this tour, I couldn't help but say yes to going. I am so glad I did. The trip was wonderful!! I especially enjoyed Lourdes. While commercialized, it has maintained it's holiness. In all the trip was paced well and satisfied everyone's requests. The Tour Director, Dina, was a huge part in the success of the trip. She has great patience and a wonderful sense of humor. I would enjoy repeating the tour again.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 6/5/2014

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: NY

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Great tour

Everything was great. A good group in personalities and number. Except for Paris the hotels were very convenient to the spots. My only complaint was that it was a bad weekend to be in Paris. It was the 70th anniversary of D-Day, Queen Elizabeth was there and it was the final weekend of the French Open tennis tournament. The traffic was awful. In addition the driver from the airport to the hotel was constantly looking at his I-Pad as if he did not know the way to the hotel. Dina was a great guide and had very thing under control. I would certainly use Go-Ahead again. It was a wonderful first impression. Ellen

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 4/24/2014

Number of Past Tours: 7

From: OK

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Paris and Northern Spain expo

We enjoyed the tour and learned allot about Southern France and Northern Spain. The tour went well and we saw interesting sites.

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