7 day Egypt Itinerary For The Perfect First Visit

This image captures the interior of an ancient Egyptian tomb or temple passageway. The walls are adorned with well-preserved hieroglyphs and frescoes, showing figures and symbols that were significant in the context of Egyptian mythology and funeral rites. The corridor descends towards the inner sanctum, with wooden railings leading down a staircase to guide visitors. The lighting is subtle, highlighting the colors and details of the wall carvings, and the ceiling appears to have remnants of decorative elements as well. This passageway serves as both a historical archive and a path deeper into the heart of the structure, where sacred or burial chambers might be found.

Alright, adventurers and history buffs, buckle up! My 7-day Egypt itinerary is not just a travel plan; it’s your ticket to the land where pharaohs reigned and myths were born. Imagine standing in the shadow of the Pyramids, not just as a tourist, but as a time traveler, whisking through centuries in just one week. Here’s the code to balancing ancient marvels with the pulse of contemporary Egyptian life, ensuring every day is filled with “wow” moments, without the need for a time machine.

Forget about sifting through endless blogs and confusing guides. This 7 day Egypt itinerary is your one-stop shop for experiencing Egypt beyond the postcards. From tasting the street food in Cairo to sailing the Nile River as the sun sets, we’re diving into everything with eyes wide open (and maybe mouths agape). And because I know the value of your precious vacation days, I’ve streamlined logistics, culture, and adventure into a seamless one week Egypt journey. So, if you’re ready to walk like an Egyptian (cue the catchy tune), let’s kickstart this epic 7 day Egypt tour. Spoiler alert: it’s going to be legendary.

Day 1: Arrival and beginning of the 7-day Egypt itinerary: Cairo

Step off the plane at Cairo International Airport, ready to dive into the heart of Egypt. Cairo, the bustling capital city, awaited with its rich history and vibrant culture. Your journey begins at the Egyptian Museum. Next, navigate the narrow alleys of Khan El Khalili Bazaar, dive into Egypt’s deep-rooted local culture, and buy some authentic souvenirs. 

First, check in to your hotel in Cairo. Depending on your arrival time, you may opt to have some rest.

Key Takeaways:

  • Explore Cairo’s rich history at landmarks like the Egyptian Museum and Khan El Khalili Bazaar. 
  • Experience the vibrant local culture and shop for souvenirs in bustling markets. 
  • Begin your 7-day Egypt itinerary in Cairo, a city that perfectly blends the ancient with the modern. 
This image depicts the Egyptian Museum in Cairo at twilight, with the fading light casting a warm glow on the building's classical facade. The museum's architecture includes grand windows and detailed cornices, highlighted by the soft evening light. In the foreground, a neat garden path leads towards the entrance, flanked by exotic trees and greenery, as well as various pieces of stone and sculpture, perhaps artifacts on display. The sky is a soft blue, indicating the time of day is just after sunset. A figure is seen walking towards the museum, adding a human element to the scene and inviting viewers to imagine stepping into a place filled with ancient treasures.
The Egyptian Museum in Cairo

Afternoon: Egyptian Museum

You will find yourself standing amidst the treasures of Pharaoh Tutankhamun upon stepping into the Egyptian Museum. The Egyptian Museum has been in the process of moving to a new building for the last couple of years. This iconic institution houses over 120,000 artifacts, many of them already being moved to the new museum building. The New Egyptian Museum was due to open to the public by the end of 2023 but the opening hasn’t happened yet. So, no one can guarantee you what you will see in the old building and which artifacts have already been moved to the new building.

Khan El Khalili Bazaar

Here, the air buzzes with the chatter of locals and the vibrant energy of enthusiastic shoppers. You can weave through stalls brimming with an array of souvenirs, from intricately designed jewelry to aromatic spices that promise to transport your senses to ancient Egypt. It stands as an unmissable experience for those eager to delve into the local culture and return home with treasures laden with stories. 

Day 2: Pyramids of Giza and Sphinx

The image depicts the Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt, a limestone statue with the body of a lion and the head of a human, believed to represent the Pharaoh Khafre. The Sphinx is oriented from left to right, with the desert and a clear blue sky in the background. The monument's significant erosion and the missing nose are clearly visible. In the foreground, there are steps leading up to the Sphinx and a few visitors can be seen, providing a sense of the size of this ancient statue. The scene is bathed in the golden light of what appears to be a bright sunny day.
The Sphinx, Giza

The second day of your Egypt tour is dedicated to the Pyramids of Giza. This iconic trio, along with the vigilant Great Sphinx, represents the zenith of pharaonic architecture and the enduring mystery of ancient techniques.

Pyramids of Giza

They have captivated historians and travelers for centuries. For the best viewing experience, I recommend you start early to avoid the heat of the midday sun. A tour guide can enhance your visit, offering insights into the construction, history, and purpose of these magnificent structures. Opt for a camel ride around the plateau for a traditional feel and breathtaking perspectives of the Giza complex. 

TIP: Make sure to agree on the price in advance.

Sphinx and the Valley Temple

At the heart of Egypt’s ancient glory stands the Great Sphinx, a marvel that has fascinated visitors for millennia. Its enigmatic face, believed to be that of Pharaoh Khafre, invites countless theories about its origins and purpose. Adjacent lies the Valley Temple, where rituals of rejuvenation and transformation once took place amidst limestone columns. For the best photo opportunities, dawn and late afternoon offer the softest light against the structures, revealing details often missed under the harsh midday sun. Consider a guided tour to unearth the profound narratives woven into these ancient stones. 

Sound and Light Show at the Pyramids

As dusk falls over Giza, a transformative experience awaits you. The Sound and Light Show at the Pyramids will transport you back to ancient Egypt. You will hear the tales of pharaohs and deities, narrated by the Sphinx itself. Vivid lights drape the pyramids, bringing the stone giants to life in a spectacle of illumination and sound. This show marks the perfect conclusion to a mystical day. It’s an encounter that intertwines history with entertainment, leaving you with memories as enduring as the pyramids. 

Day 3: Cairo – Aswan

This image features a serene sunset over the Nile River in Egypt. Traditional feluccas and modern boats glide across the calm waters, silhouetted against the golden hues of the setting sun. The shoreline is framed by the silhouettes of palm fronds and foliage, adding a tropical ambiance to the scene. In the background, the soft contours of the distant hills are visible against the pastel sky, completing this peaceful tableau of Egyptian river life at dusk.
Sunset Over The Nile At Aswan

Take an early flight to Aswan and upon arrival, check in to your chosen accommodation. You’ll have a day dedicated to the best places to visit in Aswan, such as the High Dam, showcasing the feats of contemporary engineering, and the Unfinished Obelisk, revealing insights into Egypt’s seminal stonemasonry techniques. The Temple of Philae awaits, offering serene vistas and a journey through age-old myths.

High Dam, the Unfinished Obelisk, Temple of Philae.

Aswan showcases Egypt’s ability to merge ancient marvels with modern feats. First, the High Dam stands as a testament to Egypt’s 20th-century engineering achievements, controlling the Nile’s flow.

Next, visit the Unfinished Obelisk, a glimpse into ancient Egyptian stone-working techniques that could have been the largest piece of its kind.

Culminate with the Philae Temple, an enchanting relic of devotion to the goddess Isis, now serenely located on Agilkia Island after a remarkable UNESCO-led rescue operation. 

Felucca Ride on the Nile

Embark on a Felucca ride on the Nile. It will give your Egyptian travel another perspective. The gentle flow of the river brought ancient Egyptians unparalleled prosperity. Now, it offers you serenity and a picturesque vista of Aswan’s landscape. Drifting on traditional sails, you’ll experience the calm of the Nile. This voyage provides a unique vantage point, revealing the rich history and the lush banks that make Aswan a must-visit destination in the Middle East. 

Day 4: Abu Simbel and Aswan Local Market

The image shows the Great Temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel, Egypt, under the clear blue sky. The temple's facade is dominated by four colossal seated statues of the pharaoh, with smaller figures at their feet. Visitors cluster at the entrance, providing a sense of scale to the massive size of the monument. On the right, an individual with a tripod and camera is set up, capturing the scene. The sandstone cliffs that house the temple catch the bright sunlight, emphasizing the impressive artistry and grandeur of this ancient structure.
The Great Temple of Ramesses II, Abu Simbel

Book one of the early morning day tours to Abu Simbel. This site, with its awe-inspiring temples, stands as a testament to ancient Egyptian engineering and religious devotion.

Abu Simbel is a fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Site that comprises two temples constructed to honor Pharaoh Ramses II and Queen Nefertari. The temples were originally built in the 13th century BC but were relocated in the 1960s to prevent them from being submerged by the Aswan High Dam’s construction.
The Great Temple’s façade features four massive statues of Ramses II and is positioned to face the sun. On February 22 and October 22 each year, the sunlight penetrates the inner sanctum, illuminating the statues of Ramses, Ra (the sun god), and Amun (the king of gods), while leaving Ptah’s statue (the god of darkness) in the shadows.

Day Trip to Abu Simbel Temples.

The day trip to the Abu Simbel Temples will transport you back in time. Domestic flights or a guided tour from Aswan are the best ways to reach this remote location. Remember, an early start is crucial to beat the heat and the crowds, allowing for a more intimate exploration of this must-visit destination. 

After absorbing the grandeur of Abu Simbel, return to Aswan in the late afternoon.

The local market awaits, a vibrant palette of scents, colors, and sounds. Through its alleys, you will encounter stalls displaying an array of spices, handicrafts, and traditional Nubian artifacts. It is more than a shopping expedition; it is a dive into the heart of Egyptian culture. 

If you’re looking for a relaxing way to spend your afternoon, consider treating yourself to a cup of tea at the Old Cataract Hotel. This iconic establishment will transport you back in time, evoking the nostalgia and charm of Agatha Christie’s era.

Day 5: Kom Ombo, Edfu, Luxor

This image captures a night scene within an ancient Egyptian temple, possibly the Luxor Temple given the distinctive colossal columns with papyrus-shaped capitals. Artificial lighting casts a warm glow on the hieroglyphs and bas-relief carvings that decorate the columns, enhancing the textures and depth of the carvings. A figure in traditional Egyptian attire, possibly a guard or a guide, stands next to one of the columns, providing a sense of scale to the towering architecture. Visitors are visible in the background, exploring the historic site, and the dark sky above contrasts with the illuminated stone, creating a mystical and serene atmosphere.
Kom Ombo

Departing Aswan, you’ll head towards Luxor. Your adventure will take a captivating turn with visits to Kom Ombo and Edfu Temples. These ancient sites offer a glimpse into Egypt’s rich history and cultural heritage. The Kom Ombo Temple, uniquely dedicated to two gods, stands majestically on the Nile’s bank. Shortly after, you’ll explore the Edfu Temple, one of the best-preserved shrines in Egypt, dedicated to the falcon god Horus.

Travel to Luxor, Stopping at the Temple of Kom Ombo and the Temple of Edfu Along the Way.

Leaving Aswan behind, your 7 day Egypt itinerary will lead you towards Luxor. The best way to travel from Aswan to Luxor is aboard a Nile River cruise. They have all shore excursions included in the price. Along this journey, prepare to be enthralled by the majestic Temple of Kom Ombo and the storied Temple of Edfu. These stops epitomize the grandeur of ancient Egyptian architecture. They stand as a testament to the profound history and rich cultural heritage of Upper Egypt.

GPT This image shows the entrance pylon of the Luxor Temple in Egypt during the evening. The pylon is adorned with large, illuminated statues of pharaohs, and there's a single ancient obelisk standing tall at the center, with hieroglyphic inscriptions. The sky behind transitions from the warm colors of sunset at the horizon to a deepening twilight blue above. Visitors gather at the base of the pylon, some pausing to take in the sight, which provides a perspective on the grand scale of the structure. The lighting creates a dramatic effect, emphasizing the statues and the obelisk against the dusky sky.
Luxor Temple

Luxor Temple at Night.

As dusk falls, visit the Luxor Temple. The temple, aglow under the evening sky, offers a cooler, serene atmosphere vastly different from the heat of the day. Illuminated, the ancient stones tell tales of pharaohs and gods, their stories echoing in the hush of night. It’s a time when the temple’s historical allure is most palpable. This encounter, beneath a starlit canopy, is not just a visit; it’s an experience, bridging millennia. Make sure to include this unforgettable moment in your 7 days Egypt itinerary.

Day 6: Valley of the Kings and Karnak Temple

The image shows the expansive front court of the Temple of Hatshepsut, an ancient Egyptian temple located beneath the cliffs at Deir el-Bahari, on the west bank of the Nile near the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, Egypt. The temple's architecture is characterized by its colonnaded terrace, which is lined with a series of large, square pillars. Visitors are seen walking towards the entrance, dwarfed by the temple's size and the imposing, rugged cliffs that serve as its backdrop. The sky is a clear and vivid blue, suggesting a sunny day perfect for sightseeing.
Temple of Hatshepsut

Valley of the Kings, the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, and the Colossi of Memnon.

This image features the Colossi of Memnon, two massive stone statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep III, located in the Theban necropolis, west of the River Nile from the modern city of Luxor, Egypt. They are seated figures, towering high and facing eastward towards the sunrise. Each statue is carved from a single block of stone and represents the pharaoh seated on a throne ornamented with imagery of his mother, wife, and the god Hapi. Behind the statues, the hazy silhouette of the Theban hills can be seen under a pale blue sky. In the foreground, a group of tourists is gathered, some looking up at the statues, illustrating the scale and imposing presence of these ancient monuments.
Colossi of Memnon
  • Valley of the Kings: Start early to dodge the crowds. This site’s early start ensures a serene experience, meandering through corridors rich with hieroglyphics. 
  • Hatshepsut Temple: A marvel of both architectural and historical significance. This monument celebrates one of Egypt’s few female pharaohs.
  • Colossi of Memnon: These towering statues serve as guardians, once marking the entrance to Amenhotep III’s now vanished mortuary temple. Pause here, feeling the timelessness of Egypt. 

Karnak Temple Complex.

This image features a traveler standing on the pathway leading through the ancient Karnak Temple complex in Luxor, Egypt. Flanking the path on both sides are rows of ram-headed sphinx statues, symbolizing the deity Amun. The towering walls of the temple, built of large blocks of stone, frame the scene, with the remains of pylons and columns hinting at the grandeur of the past. Visitors can be seen exploring the site, walking along the avenue of sphinxes, and in the background, the clear blue sky suggests it's a sunny day. The traveler in the foreground is dressed casually for a day of exploration, with sunglasses and a camera, ready to capture the memories of this historical place.
Karnak Temple

The Karnak Temple Complex stands as a monumental tribute to the architectural ingenuity of ancient Egyptians. This sprawling site once echoed with the footsteps of pharaohs. It’s a place where history feels palpable. The Great Temple of Amun will captivate you with its intricate hieroglyphs and towering columns. You’ll find yourself wandering through an open-air museum, where every stone tells a story of devotion, power, and innovation. Karnak isn’t just a site to visit; it’s an experience to immerse in, promising insights into a civilization that mastered the balance between artistry and engineering. 

Sound and Light Show at Karnak or Leisure Time in Luxor.

End your day with the Sound and Light Show at Karnak. The pharaohs’ whispers fill the air, their stories unfolding under a starlit sky.

Alternatively, explore Luxor’s lively streets. You might find the perfect keepsake in a bustling bazaar or savor authentic cuisine at a local eatery. Whatever choice you make, the city’s enchanting evenings promise a fitting close to a day to remember. 

Day 7: The final day of the 7 day Egypt itinerary – Luxor to Cairo

Your final day might have dawned, but the adventure hasn’t concluded. A sunrise hot air balloon ride will provide you with unparalleled views of Luxor’s landscape, an experience not to be missed. View the Valley of the Kings, soar above the majestic temples, and admire Luxor’s splendor from the sky. Then, return to the capital city, carrying vibrant memories, marking the end of your unforgettable one week in Egypt itinerary. 

Hot Air Balloon Ride in Luxor at Sunrise Before Departure.

Imagine greeting the sun as it spills golden hues over the Nile. Board a hot air balloon in Luxor’s early morning calm. Below, ancient temples and the Valley of the Kings stand as miniature masterpieces from this majestic vantage point. This experience, unmatched in its tranquility and scenic beauty, offers a once-in-a-lifetime perspective on Egypt’s rich history. 

Free Time in Cairo

The image displays the interior of a souvenir shop, presumably in Egypt, which is abundantly stocked with an array of Egyptian-themed items. There are shelves lined with statues of pharaohs, gods, and goddesses, alongside other artifacts reminiscent of ancient Egyptian culture. A large bust of Nefertiti prominently displayed in the foreground captures immediate attention. The shop's layout invites visitors to browse through the various replicas of Egyptian antiquities. Bright fluorescent lights illuminate the space, enhancing the golden and ebony hues of the souvenir collection. The shop's design, with its tiled floor and organized display, suggests a dedication to showcasing a wide variety of keepsakes for tourists.
Souvenir Shop in Egypt

If you find yourself with free time in Cairo, seize the opportunity to delve deeper into its heart.

A must-visit destination is the Hanging Church, offering a glimpse back into the capital city’s Coptic past.

Allow yourself to get lost in the labyrinthine lanes of Khan El Khalili Bazaar, the perfect place for buying souvenirs. Here, bargaining is an art form, and finding unique treasures reflecting Egyptian history is part of the adventure. This bustling marketplace serves as a reminder of Cairo’s status as a jewel of the Middle East. With every step, you’ll uncover more of the city’s layered stories, from the ancient Egyptians to the modern era. 

Dinner on a Nile Cruise

After days filled with exploration and discovery, you will find a dinner on a Nile River cruise to be the tranquil finale you deserve. Picture this: The sun dips below the horizon, casting a golden glow over the Nile’s gentle currents. You’re seated at a table adorned with the finest Egyptian cuisine, the air filled with soft melodies that resonate with the river’s flow. This experience not only offers a moment of peace but also provides one last, lingering look at Egypt’s timeless beauty from a unique vantage point.

Additional Tips

Securing centrally located hotels will save you considerable time and energy. With attractions spread across Cairo, Luxor, Aswan, your choice of stay must offer both comfort and convenience.

Opting for domestic flights between cities like Cairo and Aswan can be a game-changer, slashing hours of travel into a mere fraction.

Do not miss indulging in local delights such as koshari or molokhia; the bustling streets of Cairo and open-air markets in Luxor offer authentic tastes of Egypt.

Remember, respectful attire at religious sites fosters goodwill.

Lastly, always carry bottled water to stay hydrated and check for the latest travel advisories. 

Accommodations: Recommendations for Staying in Central Locations to Minimize Travel Time

Finding the right place to stay can make or break your trip. Opt for hotels in central locations. This ensures major attractions, like the Egyptian Museum (The old museum. The new one is still to be open. It will be close to the Pyramids of Giza.) and Khan El Khalili Bazaar, are just a stone’s throw away. Luxurious options exist, such as the Marriott Mena House, offering unparalleled views of the Great Pyramids of Giza. For the budget-conscious, plenty of hostels offer comfort without the hefty price tag. Remember, a central location translates to saved time, allowing you to explore more of Egypt’s wonders. 

Transport: Advice on Domestic Flights, Trains, and Private Transfers for Inter-City Travel

Navigating Egypt demands strategy, especially with its vast landscapes bridging ancient sites. Domestic flights save time, swiftly connecting you from Cairo to Luxor, Aswan, or Red Sea beaches. Yet, they can strain budgets, often requiring early bookings to secure reasonable rates. Trains, a more economical choice, thread through Upper and Lower Egypt, offering scenic journeys albeit with longer travel times. The overnight sleeper train from Cairo to Aswan is suitable for daytime explorations and a night’s rest. In case flexibility is your top priority, private transfers provide comfort and a tailored pace.

Food: Suggestions for Must-Try Egyptian Dishes and the Best Places to Eat

You won’t have witnessed Egypt in its entirety without savoring its traditional cuisine. Koshari, a delightful mix of pasta, rice, lentils, and crispy onions draped in tomato sauce, will captivate your taste buds. Cairo’s bustling streets boast numerous stalls where you can relish this dish. Equally enticing, Ful Medames, a delectable fava bean stew, has long been a breakfast staple among the locals. Luxor’s vibrant markets serve the most authentic versions, providing a true taste of Egyptian hospitality. Lastly, experiencing Shawarma in Alexandria (if you extend your travel to at least 8 day Egypt itinerary), where the blend of spices and succulent meat creates an unforgettable taste, is mandatory. Each city harbors esteemed eateries eager to serve these delights, making your journey through Egypt an aromatic and flavorful escapade. 

Cultural Etiquette: Tips on Local Customs, Dress Codes, and Bargaining in Markets

In Egypt, understanding the local customs and etiquette enhances your travel experience.

Dress modestly at religious sites, covering shoulders and knees, to show respect.

In bustling markets, bargaining is more than a transaction; it’s a cultural norm. Start by offering half the asked price, then negotiate with patience and a smile. If you are not interested in buying anything, firmly say: “No, thank you”, as locals can be very pushy trying to sell you something. In case you don’t want to bargain, buy your souvenirs from the Egyptian Museum shop.

Safety and Health

Updated Travel Advisories

Planning your dream trip to the land of Pharaohs demands attention to detail, especially regarding safety and health. Egypt mesmerizes with its ancient allure, but staying informed ensures a hassle-free journey. Travel advisories constantly evolve, reflecting changes in the socio-political landscape. You must consult your country’s travel advisory portal before departure. This practice will acquaint you with the current situation, making your stay in cities like Cairo, Luxor, Aswan, or the Red Sea resorts more enjoyable. 

Necessary Vaccinations

Vaccinations play a crucial role in protecting against potential health risks. Before your Egypt travel, check with a healthcare provider for recommended shots, including tetanus, hepatitis A and B, and typhoid. Remember, prevention is always better than cure.

Egypt’s climate, predominantly hot, heightens the risk of dehydration. Drinking plenty of bottled water is not just a suggestion but a necessity. 

Drinking Water Advice

Carrying hand sanitizer and avoiding tap water can further mitigate health risks. Drink only bottled water and even brush your teeth with it. Opt for dining at reputable establishments to savor Egyptian delicacies like koshari or falafel safely. Not only does this approach safeguard your health, but it also allows immersive culinary experiences. Following these guidelines will not just enhance your 7 day Egypt itinerary but will make your trip a memorable and safe exploration into the heart of the Middle East. 

Conclusion:

This 7 day Egypt itinerary isn’t just about seeing; it is about experiencing—tasting, touching, and being part of the magic that is Egypt. From the majestic pyramids to the vibrant souks, each day is a revelation, unveiling the layers of history, culture, and sheer human endeavor that make Egypt truly unique. As you bid farewell to the land of pharaohs and prepare to return to your daily lives, you will take with you not just memories, but a new perspective, enriched by the sights, sounds, and souls of Egypt.

Remember, the journey may end, but the stories and experiences are yours to keep forever. May this adventure inspire you to continue exploring, to seek out the magic that lies in far-off places, and to always be curious about the world beyond your doorstep. Why not visit Tunisia, Jordan, or Turkey next? Until next time, keep the spirit of adventure alive and remember that Egypt is always there, waiting to welcome you back to its wonders.

So, adventurers and history buffs, until our paths cross again in another journey, keep exploring, keep dreaming, and, most importantly, keep traveling.

FAQ

Can you see Egypt in 7 days?

Yes, you can see a good portion of Egypt’s highlights in 7 days. The above 7 day Egypt itinerary balances historical exploration with a bit of relaxation, ensuring you hit the major highlights without feeling too rushed.

How do I plan a 7 day trip to Egypt?

Follow the suggested 7 days Egypt itinerary and adapt it to your preferences regarding accommodation and transportation. If you have any questions or need help, feel free to ask in the comments below.

How many days in Egypt is enough?

A minimum of 7 days is necessary to see the most famous sites without rushing excessively. However, 10-14 days is ideal for a more comprehensive and relaxed trip that includes a mix of historical sites, cultural experiences, and leisure time. If you have the luxury of time, 15 days or more allows for a deep dive into all that Egypt has to offer, from ancient monuments to natural wonders and Red Sea beaches. Each itinerary should be tailored to match personal interests, travel style, and pace preferences.

Author

6 thoughts on “7 day Egypt Itinerary For The Perfect First Visit”

  1. Abu Simbel has been on my list to visit. This whole itinerary looks like a great way to capture the essence of Egypt on a first visit.

  2. Thank you, Sonia. Yes, I’ve tried this itinerary myself before posting it and it’s totally doable and great for a first acquaintace with Egypt.

  3. I’ve been wanting to visit Egypt for as long as I can remember. It’s definitely a bucket list item for me. I can’t wait to try Koshari and visit the historic sites.

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