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Nearly 50% of olive oils in the world are produced in Spain, with 25% of the entire olive oil growing areas and over 260 endemic varieties. Almost 50% of the production is exported, which means that 1 of each 2 bottles in the world contain Spanish olive oil. Harvesting season will start in autumn, which gives us the perfect excuse to invite you to come to Spain and discover the leading production regions, visit olive oil mills and experience a gastronomical tasting.

Source: Turismo Provincia de Jaén

Designation of Origin & the importance of varieties

Denominaciones de Origin (DO)

Denominación de Origen (Designation of Origin) is a seal a seal that recognizes extra-virgin olive oils produced in a specific area with particular olive varieties and under very strict production and quality standards.  There are 29 DO in Spain, with Andalusia and Catalonia leading the ranking. In Andalusia, Jaén region gathers 20% of DOs.

Varieties

More than 200 varieties of olives are grown in Spain, each one with its own unique flavours and aromas: Picual is the most extended variety in the world and its name refers to the fruit’s pointed tip shape; Picudo, one of the great Andalusian varieties, with significant presence in the provinces of Córdoba, Granada, Málaga and Jaén; Arbequina, characteristic of Catalonia (Tarragona and Lleida) and Alto Aragon, although its growth has spread to practically the entire country, and we could continue with the 26 sorts that complete the DO list.

Source: Olive Oils of Spain

Olive oil, the liquid gold, a treasure dating back to Ancient Greece

Olive oils had a leading role in the economy of Ancient Greece, who began to produce and sell throughout the Mediterranean.

“The liquid gold”, as the Ancient Greeks referred to it, was introduced in Spain by the Phoenicians for 3000 years ago but it was the Romans who spread the oil groves across their colonies. As a result of its expansion into the Iberian peninsula, olive oils produced in Spain became most appreciated throughout the Roman Empire and Spanish olive groves fed the commerce throughout the same.

Spanish olive oil production regions

Large extensions of olive trees can be found in 34 regions across Spain. Among them, one area outstands above the others, Jaén, known as the “world’s capital of olive oil”.

andalucia – Jaén

The Andalucian region occupies the southern third of the peninsula, and it produces approximately 75% of the total olive oil produced in Spain.
With a typical Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers, winters with mild temperatures, and irregular precipitation, throughout the year many areas of Andalucia enjoy over three thousand hours of sunlight.
The production of olive oil is concentrated primarily in the provinces of Jaén and Córdoba. It is interesting to note that the province of Jaén produces more olive oil than all of Greece, another large producer of olive oil in the world.
The types of olives cultivated in Andalucia for the production of oil are: Picual, Hojiblanca, Lechín, Verdial and Picudo.

This beautiful area of Spain is the perfect place to combine gastronomy & cultural heritage. Only 1 hour from Granada, you can enjoy olive oil routes, visits to “almazaras” (mills where olives are crushed), tasting & gastronomy experiences, while you let yourself be charmed by two cities full of history, Úbeda and Baeza, World Heritage Sites awarded by the UNESCO. These 2 small towns retain a 500-year old charm, with churches, palaces and museums, in an urban setting surrounded by a landscape of olive groves.

Andalucia – Córdoba

The province of Córdoba, is home to four different DO: “Bae­na”, “Priego de Córdoba”, “Montoro Adamuz” and “Aceites de Lucena”. In numerous villages it is possible to organize virgin olive oil tasting sessions and gui­ded visits. A must is Hornachuelos Nature Reserve, home to more than 100,000 ha. of oil groves.

Combine oleotourism and cultural heritage. Visit oil mills and small villages with ancient production history and take the chance to discover the fantastic heritage Córdoba city offers, with the impressive Mosque to its historic charming old town plenty of beautiful palaces and famous “patios”.

Castilla La Mancha

The Castilla – La Mancha region is located in the center of the peninsula, to the south of Madrid. This region produces about 14% of the total olive oil produced in Spain. With 4 designations of origin, the production of olive oil extends to the southeast of the region, concentrating in the provinces of Toledo and Ciudad Real.

The variety of olive that is cultivated in this community for the production of oil is Cornicabra, although in the southern region bordering Andalucia there are small areas that cultivate the variety known as Picual.

The historic city of Toledo may be the best known area of this region but, not only this UNESCO site is attractive. When we speak olive oil, the DO Montes de Toledo is a must. Its history with production goes back to Phoenician and Greek colonisations, that brought Cornicabra variety, which results in a production of an olive oil with remarkable health properties within cell aging and heart diseases.

Visit Mora and enjoy the “Fiesta del Olivo” in Mora, declared of National Tourist Interest, or the Virgin-Extra Olive Oil Fair. In this town, you will also be able to visit the Museo del Aceite, which keeps a collection of pieces to transmit the culture they witnessed, through the history and different periods, the olive tree, the olive and the olive oil; its uses, the farming olive elements and the machines to obtain it; the contrast of a 19th century oil mill with the 20th century ones. It Is structured divided in three rooms: container room (strainers, jugs, oil bottles), weights and measure room (weighting scales, steelyards and measure traditional system) and rural culture room (it shows the farmhouse with traditional jobs of the rural environment). We will end the visit with the tasting we all are waiting for: taste different varieties, visita an almazara and enjoy a walk through the olive tree fields.

Source: Turismo de Castilla-La Mancha

Catalonia

The Catalonian Community occupies the northeast corner of the peninsula and produces approximately 4% of the total olive oil produced in Spain. It is the second region in number of DO, with 5 designations, and production extends throughout the western region, bordering Aragón. The types of olives cultivated in Catalonia for the production of oil are Fraga, Empeltre and Arbequina.

Places not to be missed are: the olive oil eco-museum in Pobla de Cèrvoles; Castelldans olive oil museum; Uldecona’s greatest collection of thousand-year-old olive trees in the world and the olive oil theme parl in les Borges Blanques. A must not to be missed when speaking about gastronomy in this region is its famous pà amb tomàquet (sliced bread rubbed with tomato and topped with virgin olive oil as its best).

Olive oil products benefits go far beyond gastronomy. Did you know that olive oil is a great product for moisturising and exfoliating the skin? For years it has been applied as part of beauty treatments in various Catalan spas. What are you waiting for to live the olive oil experience?

Source: Agència Catalana de Turisme

Olive oil and gastronomy

Many are the travellers who when asked about “the best of Spain” respond sharply: “the food”. The importance of production of extra virgin olive oil and the boast of production of an excellent product has pushed Spanish gastronomy to a leading place in the world.

A tour to regions we introduced in this post will give you the needed knowledge about the common categories of Spanish olive oil and  you will be be ablre to pick out the one that best suits your needs.

With a strong flavour, extra virgin olive oil is the best choice to dress a salad or other cold dishes and it is the oil you will most find topping a cold tapa. It’s the best Spanish olive oil for preparing traditional Mediterranean dishes that are sauteed or pan-seared, too. But you do not want to use extra virgin olive oil to prepare fried dishes. It has a heavier taste and a lower smoke point. Instead, let’s use refined olive oil, the most basic, with a lighter taste and a higher smoke point that better withstands heat. Also, make sure to use the oil and not keep the bottle open for too long. Once opened, the olive oil should be used within a few months.

Source: Spain.info

 

Source: Mundo Agrario

As Las Fallas festival is just around the corner, it is important to know where the best traditional telas, costumes, accessories and outfits can be bought. To make the search easier, we have come up with a list of the top Valencian dressmakers for Las Fallas.

1) Alvaro Moliner

Alvaro Moliner Llorens is truly a leader in the traditional Valencian costume industry. Since 2006 his company has had the responsibility of creating the costume for the Fallera Mayor de Valencia at the opening of the Ninot Exhibition, which over the years has become one of the most anticipated parts of the event. The company has even become so successful that it has opened a store in Alicante to offer a specialised service for the Bonfires of San Juan. Despite having such a huge reputation for the best quality dresses, they offer an outlet in their store which means that almost anyone can own one of their breathtaking costumes at an affordable price. Better yet, the company has a deal with El Corte Inglés, making their products much more widely available. Álvaro Moliner reinvents himself every day, and continues to create innovative initiatives which are always promoted on social media.

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some of Alvaro Moliner’s beautiful pieces 

2) Rafael Catalá

With origins dating back to 1770 and located in Albuixech (Valencia), Rafael Catalá is a designer, manufacturer and distributor of high quality fabrics, aimed at sectors such as haute couture, decoration, ornamentation and fashion in general. The company is arguably the biggest name in Valencian telas and for 8 years has been given the great opportunity to dress the Falleras Mayores of Valencia, who are some of the most important representatives during the Las Fallas festival. Their fabrics have dressed some of the most important people in the country, which even includes the nuptial costumes the Infanta Cristina and Princess Letizia. The company also makes a variety of beautiful customised products, which include upholstery, fabrics for decoration, curtains, sofas, fashion, luxury fabrics, silk fabrics and high quality fabrics.

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a woman and girl wearing Rafael Catalá dresses during the parade 

3) Aguas de Marzo

The Aguas de Marzo store, dedicated to the making of Valencian regional costumes, is the result of the dedication of a lifetime to the Valencian clothing and a family tradition since 1948.  These two sisters and their time work tirelessly to deliver the highest quality products with unbeatable customer service. Each of their products is carefully prepared and handmade to perfection. They also have a wide range of the best fabrics and brands at their disposal. They primarily create Valencian costumes for women of the 18th and 19th century – but also cater to dance groups, for men from Xaragüell and Torrentí, children and even babies. As well as their stunning costumes, here you will also find a variety of accessories, including stockings, pololos, cuppers, petticoats, dressings, combs, shawls, blouses, pants, belts, vests, handkerchiefs, blankets, and hats. You can even order your own personalised shoes!

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Aguas de Marzo is well known for its high quality customer service

4) Indumentaria Valenciana Pinazo

Founded in 1887 as a Valencian Fallas stage decorating company, Indumentaria Valencia will soon celebrate 55 years of dedication to Valencian clothing. The making of all of their costumes is done in an Artisan fashion and crafted to the highest quality. One advantage of this company is that they give you the option to purchase any costume you have rented from them. Their expertise in customised outfits mean that you can create the costume of your dreams, or you can rent one of their beautiful pre-made creations. Their products are well recognised for their high quality fabrics and components and stunning patterns. They also cater to traditional costumes for men and offer a variety of accessories which include dressings, combs, tablecloths and blankets.

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a customer having her tailor-made dress fitted

5) Indumentaria Valenciana Alan

Indumentaria Alan is a Valencian company dedicated to the sale and craftsmanship of traditional Valencian costumes, with more than 30 years of experience in the sector. Their professional and personalized treatment and advice is a one of the great things about shopping here, as well as good prices and the highest quality. Here, you can have suits and dresses tailored to suit your needs specifically, or you can buy one of their pre-designed outfits. They have clothing to suit men, women and children as well as all of those necessary accessories: dressings, combs, shoes, blankets, handkerchiefs, blankets, blouses, scarves, brooches, etc.

indumentaria alan

the wide range of beautiful fabrics available at Indumentaria Alan

6) Tejidos Dalila

Dalila was founded in 1948 by Salvador and Casilda. It is a purely family company with more than 60 years of experience, and today prides itself on its first-class customer service, highest quality products and unbeatable prices. They have maintained their family character while also adapting to the changing times over the years. It is currently the third generation of the family who dedicate their daily effort to the world of Valencian clothing and accessories. With experience and professionalism, they continue to offer the best advice both to those who are new to Valencian clothing, and those who already have extensive experience. Their products include dressings, complements, petticoats, fabrics, mantillas and a host of components of the Valencian costume.

tejidos dalila

the beautiful window display at the Dalila store 

If you enjoyed this article, make sure to follow the Across Spain Travel Chronicles blog for more posts about Spain’s most beautiful locations and rich culture. Also, don’t hesitate to contact us at across spain to find out more about our 2019 Las Fallas Packages.

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Valencia, the home of Las Fallas festival

The first few things that come to one’s mind after hearing about ‘Spain’ are its gorgeous beaches, the delicious food, and the lively people. And that fits perfectly, the country has got an everlasting charm. But what you might not have heard about is that Spain is also a great winter destination and even a better winter festival destination. Continue reading to learn more about the top 4 festivals in Spain that takes place in the second half of the year.

December – Els Enfarinats

Flying Eggs, tons of flour and a lot of fun describes the Els Enfarinats festival the best. In the little town Ibi, Alicante every year at the 28th of December all inhabitants and a bunch of visitors celebrate the Day of the innocents by recreating a historical story. The Enfarinats against the opposite site. It is all playful fun, as the weapons used are merely flour and eggs, and occasional firecrackers. At the end of the day everybody is covered in a thick batter, no matter if it is a member from the one or the other side. All come together and have a lot of fun. If you want to read more about this bizarre fiesta check out our last news.

El Enfarinats

January  Tamborrada 

When you not just want to hear but also feel the music, then Tamborrada is the perfect choice for you. The magnificent drum festival is celebrated every year on the 20th of January in the city of San Sebastian. The celebration starts at midnight at the Constitution square with the raising of the city flag and lasts 24 hours. During the celebration, different costumed groups and corporations play melodies that will be heard in the whole city throughout the day. The origins of the festival date back to the Independence War around 1813, when some local women started to play music with their jugs to make fun of Napoleons troops that had invaded the city. This music parade developed to a yearly tradition and nowadays over 125 clubs and organizations participate in the event, dressed as a cook, in a soldier’s uniform or in the typical Basque women clothing.

Tamborrada

JanuaryJarramplas at Piornal

The Jarramplas, where your main enemy is a devil-like figure and your weapons are turnips, is a crazy festival that takes place every 19 and 20 January in Piornal in the province of Caceres, Extremadura. During this festival, one person is dressed up as the Jarramplas, wearing a costume with lots of colourful ribbons and a conical fiberglass mask with horns. This festival is an old tradition of which its history is still doubtful. But there is one myth, which is most commonly believed, it tells the story of a devil-looking character, who stole and killed cattle of the inhabitants and got punished for that by the villagers, who were throwing vegetables at him. Tradition, excitement and joy flood Piornal every January inviting the visitor to delve into the rites, stories and legends of this ancient and curious festival now turned into a Festival of National Tourist Interest.

Jarramplas

FebruaryCarnival

In the end of February and the beginning of March, when it is still chilly in the rest of Spain, islanders of the Canaries are dressed in colourful and tight outfits because it is carnival time again.  The Carnival on Tenerife is traditionally celebrated in the capital of the island, Santa Cruz de Tenerife. During the time, Santa Cruz is not to be recognized, the streets are full of locals and visitors from all around the world. This carnival is considered to be the second most internationally known carnival, after the one in Rio de Janeiro. It is loved for its colourful street parades and flamboyant costumes.

In Gran Canaria, the most exciting carnival takes place in Las Palmas, the capital of the island. Next year’s theme “Once upon a time…” encourages the participants to dress in their most fairy tale-like costume. Popular events during the carnival are the Queen Gala and the Drag Queen Gala. The Queen Gala features amazing dresses that are displayed by the candidates for the queen of the festival. The Drag Queen Gala is another high-profile carnival event with a lot of candidates and always a joyful audience.

The carnival celebration on both islands is ended with the traditional entierro de la sardina, the burial of the sardine, celebrated with a big parade through the cities. At the end of this parade, a huge sardine is burnt that symbolises the spirit of carnival.

carnival

If you have now the wish to listen to the sounds of drums, to throw some eggs or turnips or dance with costumed islanders at one of the amazing festival we wrote about, do not hesitate to write us a message to info@across-spain.es. With our festival packages you will experience the flair and fun of the unique festivals Spain has to offer and discover the beauty and culture of the country as well.

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Spain is known for its professional tennis players, like Rafael Nadal whom we dedicated our latest news entry and it is even more known as a major tennis mecca around the world because it is home to some of the best tennis schools. Spain’s fantastic year-round weather allows players to practice outdoors for most of the year in beautiful destinations such as Marbella, Mallorca or Barcelona and Spain is the best choice for those players who want to combine a professional tennis training with a dream-like holiday. This blog post is about the two best tennis training camps for young and adult players and we at Across Spain offers packages for booth of them:

Rafa Nadal Academy, 55 km from Palma de Mallorca

Rafael Nadal is one of the most hyped and recognizable athletes the world of tennis has ever seen. The Spaniard’s name can generally be found on the top of ATP rankings, and he has won titles on a reliable basis since 2004. He is also one of only two male tennis players to have won the career Golden Slam (all four Grand Slams and an Olympic gold medal) during their singles career. In 2016, in his hometown of Mallorca, Nadal established the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar, where he aims to share everything he has learnt over his career with young students.

Rafael-Nadal

The academy is perfectly located, just 30 minutes from Palma de Mallorca airport, therefore it has an excellent connectivity to all European countries, and is just 10 minutes from the Mediterranean coast. The Rafa Nadal Academy is very focused on children and young adults’ formation, but it also counts with different training programs for adults, all them adapted to the level and needs of each player. The team of the Academy is formed by a group of experienced coaches, directed by Toni Nadal, Rafael’s uncle. Some of them have accompanied Rafa along his sport career. The team he has always trust is actively involved and has an important role in the Academy.

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Nadal’s Sport centre offers a lot of facilities: 26 tennis courts of different surfaces (clay, greenest and more), outdoor as well as indoor, seven padel courts and two squash courts. An on-site clinic, which is specialised in sports medicine, physiotherapy and nutrition can be used by all players. Of course a fitness centre, 3,000 square meters, with the latest equipment is also part of the offer.
To make sure that the holiday aspect does not draw the short straw, the accommodation for Academy guest is on the same ground and offer spacious rooms with modern furniture. After a training session guests can relax in the Spa, equipped with massage cabins, sauna and Turkish baths and and a beauty salon. But not just tennis fans will love this sport centre, two large pools, one indoor the other outside, as well as a bicycle rental and repair service let every athlete’s heart beat faster!

To sum it up, Rafael Nadal’s Academy is for all athletes who want to enjoy a wide range of sports activities adapted to the level of each participant and delivered by the best professionals in the sport-health sector.

Club de Tenis Andres Gimeno, 15km from Barcelona

According to Rafael Nadal, Andres Gimeno “was without a doubt one of the pioneers of tennis in Spain.” Gimeno became the oldest man to win the French Open in the professional era, aged 34 in 1972. He played in the Galea’s Cup, the European Championship U21, and won it in 1956 and 1957 but he was not only a successful tennis player in Spain, he also represented his country throughout Europe.

Andrés-Gimeno

In 1974 he founded his “Club de Tenis Andres Gimeno” in Castelldefels, Barcelona. It has 23,000 m2 consisting of 22 tennis courts, 11 paddle tennis courts, 1 green set court and 2 mini-tennis courts, so everything a professional or amateur player needs. After the tennis training, athletes can burn off the rest of energy in one of the two fitness rooms or in the on-site swimming pool. For the young tennis fans a big playground promises fun afternoons. The chill-out area or the restaurant are good options for an after-competition drink.

Logo-pistas-tenis

This tennis club is perfect for athletes who are looking for a training camp with plenty of facilities close to the metropolitan Barcelona. Our package for the Club de Tenis Andres Gimeno combines the advantages of staying in a suburban and relaxed area, where players can focus on improving their skills and enjoying the Mediterranean Sea, and activates a big city like Barcelona has to offer.

If you are now eager to combine your next holiday with the possibility to bring your serve to the next level, write us a message. We offer also many packages for other kind of sports, passive or active!

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Saint Teresa of Ávila was a Spanish noblewoman who chose a monastic life in the Catholic Church and was a scholar, writer and mystic with a lot of influence during and also after her life. In our latest news, we wrote about her magnificent story and this blog post is about presenting the destinations of our “St. Teresa of Ávila” program, for all who wants to wander in the footsteps of this remarkable woman.

Salamanca

St. Teresa arrived in Salamanca on 31 October 1570 one cold All Saints night, which she narrates in great detail in her book “The Foundations”. Her presence in Salamanca, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988, can be seen from Plaza Mayor square to the University. In the square you can see a medallion dedicated to her. The University of Salamanca made her doctor honoris causa in 1922. It was the first title
the university awarded to a woman for the quality of her literature, spirituality and reformist values. In – nowadays called – “the house of St. Teresa” she lived for 4 years and it will go down in history as the place that inspired her poem “I live without living in me”.

Further interesting hotspots are the Cathedral of Salamanca, where one chapel in the new church is devoted to her or the Convent of San Esteban, he supported St. Teresa in her time in Salamanca.

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University of Salamanca

Alba de Tormes

Alba de Tormes is located less than 20 km from Salamanca and it was the seat of the ducal states of the powerful Álvarez de Toledo family (Duke and Duchess of Alba). In 1571 St. Teresa founded a monastery – The Carmelite Convent of the Annunciation – in this old medieval town. The monastery has Renaissance and Neoclassical elements and it is the place where Saint Teresa spent the last 15 days of her life. Travellers can visit her tomb, like thousands of pilgrims, who come every year to be able to pray in front of her incorrupt heart and arm.

The Carmelitano Camus Museum is also worth a visit, because it houses a rich artistic spiritual heritage, including Santa Teresa´s relics. Alba de Tormes offers a unique view of the town on the banks of the river Tormes and invites visitors to walk along the route of las Aceñas or Isla de Garcilaso or take a trip on the river to enjoy the countryside.

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Tomb of Saint Teresa

Ávila

Ávila is the city of Saint Teresa and a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1985. It is the city of Teresa’s childhood, youth and maturity, years of enthusiasm, projects, starting point and turning point of her foundations. She was born in Avila on the 28th of March in the year 1515. Nowadays travellers can visit the Church and Convent of St. Teresa, which was built on the ground where once the birth-house of Teresa stood. The large vaulted burial crypt underneath is home to the museum of St. Teresa.

Teresa spent her childhood in Ávila and as a young woman she joined the Convent of Nuestra Señora de Gracia. She spent there about 30 years of her life and prepared during this time the reform of the Carmelite community and the monasteries that she would establish in the future.

The Monastery of San José was the first convent founded by St Teresa and it is characterised by its simplicity and austerity. The convent rooms have been conserved and the spirit of St Teresa is still abound. It was designated a National Monument in 1968.

Other monuments of artistic and cultural interest regarding the history of St. Teresa are the Church of San Juan Bautista, the Convent of Our Lady of Grace, the Monastery of La Encarnación, the Royal Monastery of Santo Tomás and many more.

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Monastery of San José

Segovia

In this World Heritage City (since 1985), known for its Roman aqueduct, Saint Teresa founded her ninth convent in 1574 – the Convent of the Discalced Carmelites. The opening mass was led by Saint John of the Cross, whose remains can be found today in the convent’s church. It was originally located in a smaller nearby building and later, in 1579, it was moved to its current location. The exterior shows a masonry wall covered in mortar with two doors: one that leads to the convent, with two decorated doorjambs; and another larger door that leads to the church.

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Convent of the Discalced Carmelites.

Medina del Campo & Valladolid
St. Teresa founded the Monastery of San José in Medina del Campo, the second home of the reformed Carmelite order and meeting place with San Juan de la Cruz. From that moment, the saint’s relationship with Medina was to be constant, as shown in the thirteen times she visited the town.

In Valladolid you can find the fourth convent founded by Saint Teresa – a convent with exceptional works of art in the cloister and the choirs. In what used to be her cell you can also see the original handwritten text of her main literary work, “The Way of Perfection”, and many of her letters.

If you choose to wander in the footsteps of Saint Teresa with our program, you will travel to all this destinations and a few more to learn everything about Saint Teresa as well as about the Spanish culture. Write us today for your very own blessed experience:   info@across-spain.es

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