32 In TRAVEL & EVERYDAY ADVENTURES

HONEYMOON PART 1 – SAN FRANCISCO

 
 
Our Honeymoon in California, the starting point being in San Francisco, was utterly wonderful! We had such an amazing time and the trip gave us everything we ever wanted, for us, it was a dream come true! 
 

We got to experience both active city life and beautiful architecture, lovely breakfasts, cozy dinners, quiet and calm moments on our own, walking through different parts of the city, exploring the farmers market in SD and later on this trip everything from wild animals, beautiful scenic drives, beaches, fog and sun! på resan;  naturreservat, vilda djur, vackra vyer, stränder och sol. 

In total, I shot about 4000+ photos so even though this is a massive blog post, it’s barely nothing at the same time 😉 
 
This first part (there are 5 in total) is all about the first 3-4 days in San Francisco. All our opinions regarding ”do’s and don’ts” is at the end of each blog post. This is just our opinions based on our own experienced and likes/dislikes. Enjoy! 
 
 
The first days were spent in San Fransisco and Hotel Union Square. It’s a delightful ”boutiqe-hotel” where we got the luxury of being bumped up to a nicer suit than the one we had booked (the pros of going a bit before the high season in this area) . This hotel is located in a nice area with busses and cable cars just right outside the hotel which makes it easier to travel to other parts of the city. 
 
 
Some photos of the lobby of the hotel, dark, but cozy and some of the evenings there was a trubadur singing softly which I felt was very inviting and cozy. 
 
 
I just have to say that I love the architecture of this hotel, the stairs, the details. San Francisco is filled with amazing architecture if you’re ”into that”. 
 
 
The hotel was very cozy and both hubby and I would stay here again. It’s expensive to stay at a a decent hotel in SF, but you can actually also have the misfortune of spending almost as much as this hotel but ending up with  extremely uncomfortable beds, dirty rooms, windows that’s not properly fastened (yes this happened our last day staying at the hotel on the opposite side of the road from this one, cost almost as much but the stay was horrible – find out which hotel at the do’s and don’t at the end)). This hotell however was fresh and nice with service minded people taking care of us. 
 
 
I am not a person who sleeps well in any bed and under any circumstances, mainly due to my whiplash injury. But these beds are some of the best once I slept in to be honest, and well I slept like a baby.  A rally uncomfortable bed  on the honeymoon is just not something that adds to the romanic vibe so to speak. 
 
 
I have to say that the crocked walls, due to the tilting floor, because the building is old, really adds to the charm of the hotel. 
 
DAY 1: 
Our first brekfast was at ”Sears Fine Food”  at Union Square and let’s just say we went back there several times. We actually chose to sit by the bar and not by the window since it had a nice cozy feel to it being so close to the large window facing the street outside, it was also much calmer than the ”general” larger seating area which I didn’t care much for due to the noise and busy feeling. But the bar had great service and a nice atmosphere.
 
 
We walked a lot in the streets of San Francisco, well we walked a lot our whole honeymoon, but SF specifically is very ”walking friendly”.  For me who has a slight fetich for old double doors and old houses, beautiful stairs and windows..well I had the time of my life! 
 
When we didn’t walk, we took the old cable cars to Fishermans Warf, jumping of a few stops before our destination, walking the last part enjoying the sunshine,  which I highly recommend.
 
 
Fishermans Wharf is a tourist attraction but non the less we wanted to take a peek and maybe grab something to eat, take a walk on the pier and watch the sea lions, basically just enjoy our time together. 
 
 
The Sea Lions at Pier 39, down at  Fishermans Wharf hasn’t always been there. They ”ended up there” after an earth quake in 1989 and have been there since then. Those who know more about Sea Lions says that they have chosen to stay here since there are plenty of food in the bay but non of its natural enemies like sharks or killer whales. One tips is to go here early morning before everyone else, it’s much nicer watching the Sea Lions at sunrise. 
 
 
After walking and talking about everything and anything, watching Sea Lions and checking out the Pier we felt like sitting down. Most places are kinda touristy, that’s just the way it is – nothing wrong about it either, but we fel like sitting down and enjoying something cold to drink without a lot of people screaming and messing about.  A place that – if not less touristy than at least less people, was a place that was located at the end of the Cable Cars.  We think it’s called Jacks or Jacks Bar, based on the photos, and it was just enough people to make it cozy but not so much as to make it stressful and noisy. 
 
 
One thing I had decided to do, because I had never done it before in my life, was to go into Starbucks and buy one of those luxury, extra everything kind of latte. Let me tel you if you’re like me and never tried the, it’s like a little meal in itself, yummy but very filling too. 
 

 
Later that same afternoon, we decided to take the care for a little ”spinn” in the neighborhood. We had rented a Ford Mustang for the 16 dys we spent in California. 
 
 
We decided to go and check out the ever so famous Alamo Square. You might recognize the buildings lined up in the photo below. Unfortunately while there one of the houses was under renovation so it was covered with plastic and hence you can only see 5 of them and not all 6. But it was still nice, people sitting here and there on the hill, with picknick baskets and just enjoying the sunshine. 
 
 
I think hat my love for old doors stems from a curiosity of people and history. Who lived there, who opened that door every day of their life, who was first to live there, who loved and lost and laughed and cried behind that door? 
 
 
 
 
In one of the street corners we passed this sign and to be honest, it felt like a sign seeing this the first day of our honeymoon. . ”Today is the first day of the rest of your life”. 
 
 
Our plans to look at the golden gate bridge at sunset, we were promised sun and clear skies earlier that day, didn’t really go according to plans due to heavy fog, but that’s San Francisco for ya. 
 
 
We were actually really lucky in terms of weather our whole honeymoon. Mostly San Francisco was sunny and blu sky. But I would really love to go back in autumn where, if I have understood it correctly, there are less risk for heavy fog. Then, well then I can watch the Golden Gate bridge in al it’s glory. 
 
But there were no sad eyes from us, fog is really cozy too, so we just cruised around enjoying the amazing cliffs, the humid air and roaring sea and then ended the evening with an evening walk in the city and a pizza slice in the street. Mixing it up, the way we like it best!
 
 
 
DAY 2:
The second morning, we had a mission. The mission was to eat breakfast at  ”Mama’s”, a place known for just that. And sure, we were aware that there might be a line to get into the restaurant to enjoy some breakfast but we hadn’t really expected it to take several hours to get into the restaurant. But it did. We waited for 2 hours in the sun to get into Mama’s and enjoy their famous breakfast.  
 
In retrospect I’m contemplating if we temporarily lost our minds, but well, at least we’ve  had their breakfast. 
 
If it was worth it? Well…
 
Sure, the food was nice, but not really any better than other breakfast places we tried. Mama’s is a cozy little place with good, and fast, service but it’s clearly a bit hyped due to the reviews at Trip Advisor, at least in our opinion. 
 
If you pass Mama’s before there is a 2-3 hour line to wait in, than absolutely, go inside and enjoy a nice breakfast. But if you like us, are met with a 15 meter long line, nawww…go somewhere else. 
 
The area is nice, and if you just cross the street there’s this nice little place that sells delicious Foccachia. It’s a little family business that’s been there since 1911. Each day they bake the same batch of bread, and when they are out, they’re out, no more baking that day, you just have to come back the next day. This means that the opening hours may differ a lot from day to day. Sometimes it’s open until 11 am, sometimes until 2 om. 
 
 
The breakfast was nice even in spite of waiting in line for what felt like forever,  and afterwards we decided to walk from Mama’s, located at North Beach, back all the way to Union Square. 
 
 
Because San Francisco is darn beautiful and when the weather is nice, well, walking is almost mandatory. 
 
 
Do Epic Shit.
Couldn’t agree more.
 
 
And between Washington Square och Union Square, there’s China Town.
 
 
And in China Town, every day is a day for business. Everywhere you look there is veggies, fruit and berries high and low, spices, tiny dried fishes and everything and anything in between. There are people everywhere, it’s a lot of commotion and laughter and if you’re not selling something, you’re buying something. 
 
This place is perfect if you want to buy some fruits or nuts for the walk, or if you just want to walk around and enjoy the show. 
 
 
Once we were back at Union Square we felt peckish and me, I had my ind se to trying some cheese cake, so we went to a place called the ”The Cheesecake Factory” på Macys that was located pretty close to our hotel.
 
Cheesecake factory wasn’t cozy, neither was it nice. The staff was borderline rude and there was a lot of people. Since we had made the trouble of going there, we decided to buy 2 pieces of cheesecake and head back to the hotel to check if it was worth the fuss. 
And was it?
 
Due to the bad service and rude staff, and the fact that it felt like a tourist trap, I want to say NO, but that would be a lie. I have to say that at least the two pieces we bought, even though I just had one bit of each, was totally worth it! Extremely tasty and that is with the fact that I worked as a recipe developer for a long time in mind. It’s kind of expensive, but the pieces are large and I would say that for me as a Swede, 1 piece is more like two and big enough to share. And then the price isn’t as high. 
 
 
This evening, dinner didn’t mean a slice of pizza on the street, it meant going to Gracias Madre, a Vegan Restaurant that we heard a ot of positive things about. 
 
 
And I have to say that Gracias Madre is well worth the visit. Here you’ll find good beer, tasty food, nice and service minded staff, good atmosphere and food that is locally produced. 
 
We didn’t call to make an reservation, but we got a place at the bar withint 15 minutes which I have noticed…I kinda like. And many might think it’s a less great spot/table but at the bar, you’re close to the one you’re spending the evening with, you don’t have to shout over a table to hear what the other person is saying and furthermore, people next to you are much more prone to start talking to you (more about that later). 
 
At Gracias Madre the food is good but it’s the different flavor combinations and exciting menu that makes it great. We ordered several dishes and shared between the two of us due to being so curious about the food. This is their own words about the food they are serving:
 
”Gracias Madre is truly an expression of who we are – it represents our deep love of and reverence for food, our commitment to health and sustainability, our unconditional love for our multicultural family and community, our devotion to the Earth and the divine feminine, and our commitment to raising consciousness on the planet. It is our intention that the emphasis we place on the sourcing of our food will bring consciousness in the community to the importance of sustainability and of buying and selling locally grown organic food.”
 
 
And can you see the hand in the photo below? I don’t remember his name, but suddenly he and hubby had started talking to each other and a few minutes later and we were invited to a Jazz club where he and his band where about to play. Well, there you go, things that happens at the bar!
 
 
DAY 3:
 
Day 3 was a Saturday and Saturdays means Farmers Market the Ferry Building,  so we jumped at the tram and went there. And at the farms market you’ll find anything you want and then some!
 
 
For me, this was so enjoyable! I love fruits and veggies, locally produced and handmade items of all sorts and I could have stayed here all day.  If I had lived in  San Francisco I’d be known among the farmers at that market let me tell ya! (Probably known as that ”crazy Swedish lady, but still, they would know me)
 
 
Happy girl kitchen sells all kind of lovely products and I started talking with the girl in their booth and through our conversation I found out that they had a store in a city that we planned on visiting later on our road trip (double yay!).  Happy Girl Kitchen works with locally sourced produce, they have workshops and events about how to make preserves and how we best take care of  what the earth provides. They work close to the farmers to be able to deliver locally sourced produce and products in general. 
 
And I didn’t try every product they had, that would would have cost a fortune but I can say that their lavender lemonad was more than delicious and come in really nice looking bottles too. Two thumbs up from me! 
 
 
 
When we felt like we couldn’t walk anymore, instead of going somewhere and have breakfast inside, we chose to buy some bread, bomboloni filled with vanilla custard, fresh strawberries and apricots as well as freshly pressed orange juice and coffee and then sit in the sun on a bench and enjoy our breakfast there. 
 
 
Later that evening it was time for the food festival  ”61st annnual North Beach Festival”. 
 
 
And here, we found about half of San Francisco, well at least it felt like it! People in all ages dancing, eating, talking and enjoying life. Different stores, antique boutiques, jewelry makers, dogs and artist high and low. 
 
Someone was playing music at one corner while we stood in line to get corn on the cob and fried zucchini.  
 
 
And once we got the food, we sat down at the curb just like everyone else enjoying food from the festival. 
 
 
ON our way out from the festival are, we passed a cafe where the line meandered out in the street which made us curious.
 
A long line is always a good sign so we sopped and bought a few treats on our way back to the hotel room and spent the evening in bed, talking, drinking beer and eating strawberries and pastries as well as talking about the next part of our journey. 
 
 
CONCLUSON, TIPS AND COMMENTARY: 
 
Airline: We traveled with Norwegian, it took 10 hours from Sweden, on a no-stop flight. The food was, as always, not great, but other than that is was a very good deal and smooth journey.  Furthermore the service from the flight attendants was great. Also, a lot of cool people in the flight to SF. The flight was delayed and when people started to become a bit restless a guy took out his guitar and started playing and singing and a girl started doing yoga, and I felt like ”yeah this is going to be a good trip”. I was right 😉 
 
Great hotel: Hotel Union Square
 
If you rent a car: Chose a hotel with their own parking lots/area, otherwise it’s going to be a lot more expensive with parking and a lot more complicated because you have to go around looking for a house or a space for parking, preferably one that has some security so nothing ”happens” to the car. 
 
Food. Food cost a lot and breakfast out is expensive and something a Swede like me isn’t really used to. Breakfast can easily cost  US$ 35-45 tip included which can mount up to quite a bit if you’re away for a longer period of time.  We ate breakfast in a restaurant almost every morning when in a city, and our breakfast (for 2 people) went for about US$ 45 almost every time, but then we also had a lot of food, coffee and gave about 20% in tip every time. It’s difficult as a Swede to know what to do with tipping but sine we know that the service workers are highly dependent on getting a tip we didn’t want to give too little. If it was too little or not, not sure, but maybe we found a good middle ground.  What we did to balance it out money wise was that we splurged on breakfast and cheaper lunch and filled up with snacks like nuts and/or dried fruit in between meals. Dinner was everything from a slice of pizza on the corner to more fancy dinner, we mixed it up based on what we felt like that evening!
 
Clothing and weather in SF: We heard that it’s typical for tourists to dress with too little clothes in SF. Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean it’s warm. It can be cold and foggy and the weather can change really rapidly. We struck gold in terms of weather while in the city but we always brought a thicker sweater or jacket in our bag which is the reason you can see me in a hat/cardigan/shawl/jeans and behind me is someone in a dress. Layers people layers, that’s the best tips for San Francisco, and you’ll be safe. 
 
 
Seasons to travel to SF: This is not only what we feel for going to San Francisco but this whole trip, and especially the coast line. But the best time to go here is autumn or spring, when the weather is more stable and the risk of extreme fog (making you unable to enjoy the view and surroundings) smaller. We went early summer but and we were lucky and no problems. Well except for not seeing the Golden Gate bridge 😉 
 
Traveling from A to B: Out tip is to buy a travel card/travel pass for the days you’re going to be there. We bought a 3 day pass for us which meant that we could just step on to any tram or cable car and go where ever we wanted. It was well spent money!!  If we hadn’t each journey we’ve have to double check what was applicable for that method of transportation and journey, so not worth the effort and when we summed it up afterwards checking where we went and what it would have cost, not buying the 3 day pass would have been way more expensive. 
 
If you’re going to rent a car like we did: Rent the car in advance, at least if you’re a Swede. It much cheaper than renting one once you’re there. Also, rent one that’s a cab, like, seriously the best thing! The nature along the coast line and in Yosemite is just sooo nice and if you’re going while the temperatures are warm it’s so nice to be able to ”cab down” as we say n Sweden, and enjoy the breeze. Ps. Don’ forget sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat! 
 
BEST TIPS IN SHORT:
Go to Fishermans Wharf early morning to check out the sunrise and the Sea Lions all at once
Visit Alamo Square and the area around with all the beautiful Victorian buildings.
Farmers Market on Saturdays
Restaurant ”Gracias Madre”
Visit festivals and markets, it’s an amazing way to experience a city ”for real” even if it’s also filled with tourists. 
Cheesecake Factory på Macy’s at Union Square, buy a piece of cheesecake and go to a park (If the weather is nice) and enjoy!
WALK! Bring your best shoes for walking and walk through the city. When you get tired, jump on a Cable Car , tram or bus. 
Ride de old cable Cars through town, chose a spot to sit that’s on  the ”outside” of the cable cars facing the street. 
Walk through China Town. 
Rent bicycles and take a trip over Golden Gate to Sausalito, have a taco or an Ice Cream by the water. Take the ferry back.
Visit Alcatraz 
If you’re up for more walking there’s an old ”streak” for walking that’s called ”Lands end trail” to Ocean Beach. It gives you an amazing view over the pacific coat line (f it’s not covered in fog that is) 
Point Lobos
Go to Marin Headlands just before sunset and get a magnificent view of San Francisco. 
 
 
WATCH OUT FOR:
 
WARNING for Hotel Herbert. We stayed here the last night on our journey hoe and it was SO NOT WORTH THE MONEY.  The lobby is really nice, so you kind expect the rooms to be as nice. Let me tell you. They’re NOT:
 
We payed little over US$ 200 for one night the hotel was really dirty and smelled weird. I went to the window to see if we could open it to air it out and I don’t think they ever cleaned them. When I opened the window it just fell out and I stood there with the whole window in my hands. The bed was so uncomfortable and bumpy.  After going down to the reception and complaining we got back half of the money we paied but to be honest, I rather sleep in my car than go back there. At least it’s clean there. I would avoid this place at all cost to be honest. 
 
Hope this was helpful, and enjoy your trip to San Francisco! 
 
 

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32 Comments

  • Reply
    Anneli
    4 januari, 2016 at 13:00

    Låter som en fantastisk start på en smekmånad! Vilken resa!
    Jag måste fråga om priset på frukostar bara, missförstår jag texten eller menar du på allvar att ni betalade 450 dollar för 2 frukostar varje morgon???

    • Reply
      Mary
      4 januari, 2016 at 13:04

      Ja det var det verkligen, och det blev faktiskt bara bättre dessutom! Haha OH MY! Nej nej givetvis inte..då hade jag fått sälja en njure eller något 😉 Det ska så klart vara 35-45 dollar! Vad bra att du påpekade det, har ändrat nu. Skönt när jag kan förlita mig på mina fina läsare att hitta faktafel eller andra knasigheter! Stort tack och kram på dig 🙂

  • Reply
    Anneli
    4 januari, 2016 at 13:14

    Hahaha! Gud så skönt, jag kände att mina möjligheter att göra en liknande resa någonsin föll i bitar framför mig. Det här låter lite mer lagom och överkomligt haha:) kram kram!

  • Reply
    Amanda
    4 januari, 2016 at 16:38

    Åh vad jag blir peppad på att göra något liknande 🙂 väntar med spänning på fortsättningen på er resa

  • Reply
    Beatrice
    4 januari, 2016 at 19:06

    Ser verkligen fram emot nästa inlägg! Såå kul att läsa! 🙂 verkar ha varit en underbar resa.

    • Reply
      Mary
      4 januari, 2016 at 19:56

      Tack fina du!

  • Reply
    Linnéa
    4 januari, 2016 at 19:39

    Gud vad glad jag blev över detta inlägget!! Jag och min sambo har precis bokat resa till San Fransisco (ska bila därifrån) och detta inlägget kom helt rätt i tiden! Tusen tack för alla dessa tipsen, ska verkligen ha de i åtanke!

    • Reply
      Mary
      4 januari, 2016 at 19:56

      Men vad perfekt! Vi bilade ju också från San Fransisco, in till Yosemite och sen ut till kusten igen. Nerför Highway One och Big Sur ner till LA och Hermosa Beach. Så ska ni neråt den vägen kommer det komma massa tips. Oavsett kommer er resa bli magisk!

  • Reply
    Lund Johanna
    4 januari, 2016 at 22:12

    Å vilka flashbacks jag fick – och vad jag längtar tillbaka. Utbrast i eufori här i soffan (mitt i karlns youtube-klipp som visst var väldigt intressant) att "jag vill tillbaka till San Francisco". Känner igen det där med golden gate-bron, för lite kläder och att de där cheescakesen var galna!

    Kort och gott, låter som ni hade det fantastiskt!

  • Reply
    Linn Lindgren
    4 januari, 2016 at 22:17

    Ååå vad kul att ni gillade SF! Och tack för alla tips, flyttade nämligen dit i somras (dock bara för ett år) och tycker ofta att det är svårt att hitta bra prisvärda ställen att äta på inne i stan (Sausalito är dock lättare), så tack för alla fina tips! Synd att ni inte fick se Golden gate bron bara. Kram❤️

    • Reply
      Mary
      4 januari, 2016 at 23:32

      Men vad kul att du flyttat dit Linn! Är det för att plugga? Ja, SF är helt klart dyrt! Hört ngt om en food truck som heter "off the grids" sm ska servera god mat för bra pris. den håller till på olika ställen olika tidpunkter så man får kolla upp vart den är om man är sugen. Finns tydligen dom som bara serverar efterrätter också. Vi glömde bort det bland alla andra saker vi ville göra och se, men alltid ngt att kolla upp 🙂 Stor kram

  • Reply
    Linn Lindgren
    4 januari, 2016 at 22:22

    Ååå vad kul at ni gillade SF! Och tack för alla fina tips ifrån stan! Flyttade nämligen hit i somras (dock bara i ett år) och har haft svårt att hitta bra, prisvärda matställen, så detta inlägg är toppen! Synd dock att ni inte fick se fina Golden gate bron när ni var där. Kram❤️

  • Reply
    Clara Edvinsson
    4 januari, 2016 at 22:41

    Wow vilken smekmånad och fantastiska foton! Gillar fotot när man ser den spikraka gatan långt bort, ovanför svackan och spännande med drakfrukten i China town. Tråkigt att det var dimma vid Golden gate, hoppas på bättre tur nästa gång!

  • Reply
    Anonym
    4 januari, 2016 at 22:57

    Vilken fantastisk resa ni gjort!

  • Reply
    Linn Lindgren
    6 januari, 2016 at 19:53

    Jag är här med familjen som ett "familjeår" men går också i skolan här. Jag måste verkligen titta upp den där food trucken! Låter smarrigt!
    Kram❤️

    • Reply
      Mary
      7 januari, 2016 at 08:56

      Men vad spännande, då hoppas jag du har det helt fantastiskt..NJUT! Hälsa gärna hela familjen från mig! Kram på dig

  • Reply
    OLIVIA | 17,5 årig tje j mediebranschen
    7 januari, 2016 at 16:33

    Jisses vilken härlig smekmånad. Trist att ni råkade ut för dåligt hotell!

    • Reply
      Mary
      12 januari, 2016 at 21:35

      Ja det var helt sjukt magiskt!! Ja men det var bara sista natten, så det gjorde inte så mkt, i övrigt var det precis som vi förväntat oss!

  • Reply
    Mikaela
    8 januari, 2016 at 14:46

    Alltså jag ÄLSKAR din blogg! Så mycket inspiration. //Mikaela http://www.mikaelasmenu.com

  • Reply
    Sara
    11 januari, 2016 at 08:51

    Åh jag är ännu mer såld på att åka dit nu! Fantastiska bilder och så himla bra tips. Tack 😀

  • Reply
    Lena - gott för själen
    16 januari, 2016 at 21:53

    Åh vad roligt att läsa! Suget i magen kommer tillbaka. Nu fattar jag vilket misstag vi gjorde. Vi var jättebesvikna på Farmers market, men det var nog inte lördag kanske när vi var där. Haha. Typ nästan helt dött.

    Vi var ju där i maj och hade klart väder. Bodde i Fishermans wharf på ett helt ok hotell. Jag hade varit där förut, men inte maken. Vi tycker att det är en härlig stad att uppleva en massa i!

    Härligt att du bjuder på din resa. Ska läsa vidare imorgon.

    Kram Lena

    • Reply
      Mary
      16 januari, 2016 at 22:48

      Vad kul att suget kommer tillbaka! Åh vad knasigt, ja för det är lördagar som "gäller" så att säga. Men ni får åka tillbaka igen, ännu en anledning liksom 😉 Hoppas du tycker om fortsättningen! <3 Kram på dig

  • Reply
    Mikaela
    3 februari, 2016 at 14:22

    Vilka fantastiska bilder! Så inspirerande.

    • Reply
      Mary
      21 februari, 2016 at 14:29

      Tack Mikaela!

  • Reply
    Matsdotter
    7 september, 2016 at 08:28

    Nu har jag läst igenom hela eran bröllopsresa och fått massvis med bra tips inför våran Kalifornien resa. Vi åker på fredag och jag längtar som bara den 😀

    Tack för väldigt bra rese-inlägg!

    • Reply
      Mary
      10 september, 2016 at 09:17

      Vad roligt, hoppas ni får en underbar resa där. Jag längtar tillbaka och hoppas kunna åka dit snart igen! <3

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