Maximizing Your Weekend in Copenhagen – A 3-Day Travel Guide

Embark on a Copenhagen Adventure Copenhagen, the heartbeat of Denmark, is a city woven with enchanting canals, regal castles, quaint dwellings, and verdant retreats, making it an idyllic destination for a weekend escapade. To help you make the most of a long weekend, I’ve crafted the definitive guide for a 3-day sojourn in Copenhagen. And for those who can linger a bit longer, I’ve sprinkled some additional gems at the close of this guide.

Mapping Out Our Daily Discoveries

A Snapshot of Copenhagen Copenhagen stands as a paragon of urban greenery, impressing newcomers with its meticulously planned landscapes, reliable public transport system, and a palpable commitment to ecological stewardship.

The crown jewels of Copenhagen’s attractions are clustered near the city’s core, conveniently accessible on foot from the city center. But if time is on your side, venture further afield with the city’s stellar transit network or embark on some day trips to enrich your experience.

Evaluating Time in Copenhagen: Is a 3-Day Stay Sufficient? A trio of days in Copenhagen represents the essential time needed to capture the essence of the city and explore its signature landmarks. However, if you’re fortunate enough to extend your stay, consider the additional activities and excursions suggested in the Bonus section that follows to round out your Danish discovery.

Ideal Times to Explore Copenhagen Copenhagen captivates visitors throughout the year, but to truly relish your stay, the summer season shines as the prime period for exploration. Despite Copenhagen’s northern latitude, which warrants a jacket and umbrella regardless of the season, summers are generally mild, with brief rainfall.

Crafting Your Copenhagen Itinerary for 3 Days This curated itinerary is structured to maximize your experience in Copenhagen, considering the prime attractions and their proximity to one another. Before we dive into the day-by-day plan, let’s address your arrival. Touching down at Copenhagen Airport, you’ll find efficient transit options to the city center via metro or train, situated in Terminal 3. The train whisks you to Copenhagen Central Station, while the metro might be preferable depending on your accommodation. From the airport, the metro takes you to Kongens Nytorv, where you can connect to the M3 metro line, circling the heart of the city. Now, let’s embark on the ultimate 3-day journey through Copenhagen.

Your Long Weekend in Copenhagen: Top Picks for 3 Days With just a long weekend at your disposal in Copenhagen, careful selection of sites is key. Here’s how I recommend you spend your 3 days in this charming city.

Embarking on a Copenhagen Journey – First Stop: City Hall Square

Imagine having just one day to explore Copenhagen; where do you begin? Let’s chart a course through the city’s must-visit locales, starting with the illustrious Radhuspladsen.

Positioned at the very pulse of the city, Radhuspladsen isn’t merely a square; it’s a towering tribute to civic pride, mirroring the grandeur of Siena’s storied halls. This is where Copenhagen’s heart beats, anchored by one of its loftiest structures.

Should you find yourself navigating by metro, both M3 and M4 lines will escort you to the doorstep of this urban landmark. Doors are open to those wishing to venture inside. Crave a skyward gaze from its towering summit? Partake in a guided ascent available from Monday to Friday at 1 PM and an earlier climb at 10 AM on Saturdays. Secure your spot for 60 DKK and let the city’s panorama unfold beneath you.

Discover More Heights: Christiansborg Palace

While Copenhagen offers a plethora of towers to ascend, don’t feel compelled to dedicate your entire day to just one—especially if it’s not a Saturday when unique opportunities arise.

Make your next move to Christiansborg Palace, a mere stone’s throw from Radhuspladsen. Should the metro be your preferred mode of travel, alight at Gammel Strand station to find yourself at this regal site.

Christiansborg Palace stands as a bastion of Danish sovereignty, housing the nation’s Parliament, Supreme Court, and the Prime Minister’s offices. Fortunately for visitors, sections of this grand edifice welcome the public, offering an intimate glimpse into the regal Danish way of life.

Embark on a tour of the stately Royal Reception Rooms, including the grandioresque Great Hall, delve into the historic depths of the castle ruins, or wander through the royal stables and kitchen. Access to all these sites can be yours with a combined ticket for 160 DKK. For more insights on visiting Christiansborg Palace, a wealth of information is just a click away.

The pinnacle of the palace, Christiansborg Tower, claims the title of the tallest in Copenhagen at 106 meters and is yours to explore without charge. Elevator access whisks you to the summit, where the city unfolds below in a tapestry of rooftops and elegant structures. Just be prepared for a wait, as space at the apex is limited. If the climb stirs your appetite, the Tower restaurant offers sustenance with a view.

Plan your visit between Tuesday and Saturday from 11 AM to 9 PM, or on a Sunday when the tower welcomes guests from 11 AM to 5 PM.

Explore Copenhagen’s Canals by Boat Embarking on a canal tour is a delightful way to experience the essence of Copenhagen. Launch your aquatic adventure either from Ved Stranden, just adjacent to Christiansborg Palace, or the vibrant docks of Nyhavn. Each cruise spans an hour and costs 99 DKK.

As you glide through the waters, you’ll be treated to views of iconic landmarks such as the storied Little Mermaid statue, the opulent Royal Opera House, and an array of both historic and modern bridges. The journey even winds through the colorful enclave of Christianshavn, one of the most picturesque districts in the city.

Strolling through Copenhagen’s Heart Post-cruise, stretch your legs with a leisurely amble through the heart of Copenhagen. Drift along Storget, the bustling pedestrian shopping artery, and pause to appreciate the Storks Fountain. A brief detour to Grabrodretorv is well worth it; this quaint square is fringed by vibrantly hued traditional houses and is quite the concealed treasure of Copenhagen. With an array of dining options nearby, consider this charming spot for a lunch or dinner break on your inaugural day.

Ascending the Round Tower Cap off your day with a visit to The Round Tower (Rundetaarn), renowned for its unique helical corridor leading to the summit. For further details on this intriguing structure, do delve into my dedicated post on the Round Tower. It’s an attraction not to be missed, with its singular interior and panoramic vistas from the rooftop. Once serving as an astronomical observatory, it boasts Europe’s oldest functioning observatory above.

Intriguingly, the Round Tower’s design is such that it once allowed for a horse and carriage to ascend its spiral path.

Pro Tip for Day One in Copenhagen To orient yourself upon arrival, consider joining a complimentary walking tour. It’s a fantastic primer on the city’s layout and a source of insider tips on the top spots to visit throughout Copenhagen.

Day Two in Copenhagen: A Blend of Iconic Sights and Secret Delights

Begin Day Two with The Little Mermaid Kick off the morning of your second day at the statue of The Little Mermaid, Copenhagen’s renowned emblem derived from Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale. While the sculpture might seem modest, an early visit allows for a less crowded experience, perfect for capturing that solo snapshot.

You can reach this spot by heading to the Osterport station, which is serviced by both the M3 and M4 metro lines.

Kastellet: A Citadel of Heritage and Tranquility Step back in time at Kastellet, the 17th-century star-shaped fortress that still houses military barracks. It’s a serene place for a leisurely walk, complete with a traditional windmill and nature’s embrace. Nearby, the elegant St. Alban’s Anglican Church, the majestic Gefion Fountain, and the thought-provoking ZinkGlobal sculpture, “The Key to the Future,” await your contemplation.

Amalienborg Palace: Royal Traditions Up Close Continue your journey through Copenhagen’s regal history at Amalienborg, the Danish Royal Family’s residence since the late 18th century. The palace square, flanked by four symmetrical buildings, comes to life at noon with the grand changing of the guard ceremony. While Christian IX’s Palace remains closed to the public, the Amalienborg Museum in Christian VIII’s Palace offers a glimpse into the lives of Danish monarchs.

Frederik’s Church: An Ode to Elegance Just a stone’s throw from Amalienborg, Frederik’s Church, known as the Marble Church, boasts the largest dome in Scandinavia, creating an atmosphere of tranquility and grandeur. It’s a perfect spot to pause and reflect amidst your explorations.

The Design Museum: A Beacon of Creativity (Currently Closed) Although closed at the time of writing (March 2022), when open, the Design Museum is a must-visit for enthusiasts of Danish creativity. It’s merely a five-minute stroll from Frederik’s Church.

Nyhavn: The Quintessential Copenhagen Nyhavn’s 17th-century harborfront is a postcard-perfect tableau of Copenhagen, with its vibrant array of historical houses. This charming district invites leisurely walks and is dotted with cozy cafes and eateries where you can relax and soak up the lively ambiance.

Tivoli Gardens: A Whimsical World of Wonders No visit to Copenhagen is complete without a day at Tivoli Gardens, an enchanting amusement park beloved by all ages. With its blend of thrilling rides, tranquil gardens, live entertainment, and dining options, Tivoli is more than just an amusement park—it’s a cultural landmark that has captured the imaginations of storytellers from Hans Christian Andersen to Walt Disney. Open from April to September and during special seasons like Halloween and Christmas, Tivoli offers a magical escape within the city.

Pro Tip for Day Two: Wrap up your day at a Mikkeller bar, where you can sample craft beers born from a passion project that grew into an international sensation. Whether you’re a connoisseur or casual enjoyer of hops and malts, Mikkeller’s innovative brews are a fitting end to a day of discovery.

Day 3 in Copenhagen: Immersive Exploration and Hidden Gems

As you embark on the final leg of your Copenhagen adventure, prepare for a day brimming with sights and experiences that will deepen your affection for this enchanting city. The day’s agenda is filled with hidden corners and vibrant neighborhoods that offer a fresh perspective on the Danish capital.

Christianshavn: A Bohemian Rhapsody by the Canals Your day begins in the eclectic Christianshavn, easily accessible via the M1 or M2 metro lines. Stepping off at the Christianshavn station, you are immediately enveloped in the neighborhood’s bohemian spirit. Stroll along the canal sides flanked by vividly painted houses, and observe the array of boats that have been ingeniously converted into charming floating homes. Allow Christianshavn’s distinctive vibe to captivate your senses as you meander through its streets.

It seems you’ve got an impressively comprehensive itinerary laid out for your third day in Copenhagen. Let’s summarize and organize it to help you make the most of your final day:

Morning: Christianshavn and Local Highlights

  • Christianshavn: Start your day with a stroll through this picturesque area. Immerse yourself in the bohemian vibe and take in the colorful houses along the canals.

  • The Church of Our Saviour: Your cultural morning continues with a climb to the top of this Baroque church. Remember to check the time before you go, as the climb is only available when the tower is open to visitors.

  • Freetown Christiania: Just a short walk from the church, delve into this unique community. Explore its unconventional lifestyle and vibrant street art.

Lunch: Broens Gadekøkken

  • Broens Gadekøkken: Time for a break at this bustling street food market. Indulge in a variety of cuisines and enjoy some people-watching.

Afternoon: Historical Sites and Nature

  • Rosenborg Castle: Make sure to check the opening times and book your ticket online in advance. Whether you explore the interiors or just the gardens, it’s a must-visit.

  • The Botanical Gardens: Right across Rosenborg Castle, the Botanical Gardens offer a peaceful retreat. If you’re keen, pay a visit to the Palm House and the Butterfly House within.

Bonus Activities: Beyond the Itinerary

  • A bike tour or day trips: If time allows, consider cycling around the city or take a day trip to nearby attractions like Malmo, Sweden or Elsinore.

Shopping and Museums: If Time Permits

  • Shopping: For those interested in fashion and design, Købmagergade and Pilestræde are the go-to streets.

  • Museums: Depending on your interests, you could visit The National Museum, The National Gallery, or NY Carlsberg Glyptotek.

Relaxing: Beaches and Kayaking

  • Amager Beach: If it’s a warm day, consider a trip to the beach for some relaxation or water sports.

Beer and Zoos: Additional Options

  • Carlsberg Tour: If the visitor center is open, it’s an educational and enjoyable experience for beer enthusiasts.

  • Frederiksberg: For a touch of greenery and animal encounters, visit the gardens or the Copenhagen Zoo.

Practical Tips for the Day:

  • Copenhagen Card: Many attractions offer free entry with this card, so it might be worth purchasing if you plan to visit multiple sites.

  • Online Booking: Remember to book tickets in advance for Rosenborg Castle to secure your slot.

  • Pack Accordingly: Be prepared with comfortable shoes for walking and climbing, and carry a light jacket for the unpredictable Copenhagen weather.

  • Stay Fueled: There are plenty of places to eat, but don’t forget to stay hydrated and take occasional breaks.

Enjoy your final day in Copenhagen! Remember, the city’s charm often lies in its unexpected corners, so while it’s great to have a plan, allow yourself some spontaneity to discover something new.

Embark on a Copenhagen Adventure Copenhagen, the heartbeat of Denmark, is a city woven with enchanting canals, regal castles, quaint dwellings, and verdant retreats, making it an idyllic destination for a weekend escapade. To help you make the most of a long weekend, I’ve crafted the definitive guide for a 3-day sojourn in Copenhagen. And for those who can linger a bit longer, I’ve sprinkled some additional gems at the close of this guide.

Mapping Out Our Daily Discoveries

A Snapshot of Copenhagen Copenhagen stands as a paragon of urban greenery, impressing newcomers with its meticulously planned landscapes, reliable public transport system, and a palpable commitment to ecological stewardship.

The crown jewels of Copenhagen’s attractions are clustered near the city’s core, conveniently accessible on foot from the city center. But if time is on your side, venture further afield with the city’s stellar transit network or embark on some day trips to enrich your experience.

Evaluating Time in Copenhagen: Is a 3-Day Stay Sufficient? A trio of days in Copenhagen represents the essential time needed to capture the essence of the city and explore its signature landmarks. However, if you’re fortunate enough to extend your stay, consider the additional activities and excursions suggested in the Bonus section that follows to round out your Danish discovery.

Ideal Times to Explore Copenhagen Copenhagen captivates visitors throughout the year, but to truly relish your stay, the summer season shines as the prime period for exploration. Despite Copenhagen’s northern latitude, which warrants a jacket and umbrella regardless of the season, summers are generally mild, with brief rainfall.

Crafting Your Copenhagen Itinerary for 3 Days This curated itinerary is structured to maximize your experience in Copenhagen, considering the prime attractions and their proximity to one another. Before we dive into the day-by-day plan, let’s address your arrival. Touching down at Copenhagen Airport, you’ll find efficient transit options to the city center via metro or train, situated in Terminal 3. The train whisks you to Copenhagen Central Station, while the metro might be preferable depending on your accommodation. From the airport, the metro takes you to Kongens Nytorv, where you can connect to the M3 metro line, circling the heart of the city. Now, let’s embark on the ultimate 3-day journey through Copenhagen.

Your Long Weekend in Copenhagen: Top Picks for 3 Days With just a long weekend at your disposal in Copenhagen, careful selection of sites is key. Here’s how I recommend you spend your 3 days in this charming city.

Embarking on a Copenhagen Journey – First Stop: City Hall Square

Imagine having just one day to explore Copenhagen; where do you begin? Let’s chart a course through the city’s must-visit locales, starting with the illustrious Radhuspladsen.

Positioned at the very pulse of the city, Radhuspladsen isn’t merely a square; it’s a towering tribute to civic pride, mirroring the grandeur of Siena’s storied halls. This is where Copenhagen’s heart beats, anchored by one of its loftiest structures.

Should you find yourself navigating by metro, both M3 and M4 lines will escort you to the doorstep of this urban landmark. Doors are open to those wishing to venture inside. Crave a skyward gaze from its towering summit? Partake in a guided ascent available from Monday to Friday at 1 PM and an earlier climb at 10 AM on Saturdays. Secure your spot for 60 DKK and let the city’s panorama unfold beneath you.

Discover More Heights: Christiansborg Palace

While Copenhagen offers a plethora of towers to ascend, don’t feel compelled to dedicate your entire day to just one—especially if it’s not a Saturday when unique opportunities arise.

Make your next move to Christiansborg Palace, a mere stone’s throw from Radhuspladsen. Should the metro be your preferred mode of travel, alight at Gammel Strand station to find yourself at this regal site.

Christiansborg Palace stands as a bastion of Danish sovereignty, housing the nation’s Parliament, Supreme Court, and the Prime Minister’s offices. Fortunately for visitors, sections of this grand edifice welcome the public, offering an intimate glimpse into the regal Danish way of life.

Embark on a tour of the stately Royal Reception Rooms, including the grandioresque Great Hall, delve into the historic depths of the castle ruins, or wander through the royal stables and kitchen. Access to all these sites can be yours with a combined ticket for 160 DKK. For more insights on visiting Christiansborg Palace, a wealth of information is just a click away.

The pinnacle of the palace, Christiansborg Tower, claims the title of the tallest in Copenhagen at 106 meters and is yours to explore without charge. Elevator access whisks you to the summit, where the city unfolds below in a tapestry of rooftops and elegant structures. Just be prepared for a wait, as space at the apex is limited. If the climb stirs your appetite, the Tower restaurant offers sustenance with a view.

Plan your visit between Tuesday and Saturday from 11 AM to 9 PM, or on a Sunday when the tower welcomes guests from 11 AM to 5 PM.

Explore Copenhagen’s Canals by Boat Embarking on a canal tour is a delightful way to experience the essence of Copenhagen. Launch your aquatic adventure either from Ved Stranden, just adjacent to Christiansborg Palace, or the vibrant docks of Nyhavn. Each cruise spans an hour and costs 99 DKK.

As you glide through the waters, you’ll be treated to views of iconic landmarks such as the storied Little Mermaid statue, the opulent Royal Opera House, and an array of both historic and modern bridges. The journey even winds through the colorful enclave of Christianshavn, one of the most picturesque districts in the city.

Strolling through Copenhagen’s Heart Post-cruise, stretch your legs with a leisurely amble through the heart of Copenhagen. Drift along Storget, the bustling pedestrian shopping artery, and pause to appreciate the Storks Fountain. A brief detour to Grabrodretorv is well worth it; this quaint square is fringed by vibrantly hued traditional houses and is quite the concealed treasure of Copenhagen. With an array of dining options nearby, consider this charming spot for a lunch or dinner break on your inaugural day.

Ascending the Round Tower Cap off your day with a visit to The Round Tower (Rundetaarn), renowned for its unique helical corridor leading to the summit. For further details on this intriguing structure, do delve into my dedicated post on the Round Tower. It’s an attraction not to be missed, with its singular interior and panoramic vistas from the rooftop. Once serving as an astronomical observatory, it boasts Europe’s oldest functioning observatory above.

Intriguingly, the Round Tower’s design is such that it once allowed for a horse and carriage to ascend its spiral path.

Pro Tip for Day One in Copenhagen To orient yourself upon arrival, consider joining a complimentary walking tour. It’s a fantastic primer on the city’s layout and a source of insider tips on the top spots to visit throughout Copenhagen.

Day Two in Copenhagen: A Blend of Iconic Sights and Secret Delights

Begin Day Two with The Little Mermaid Kick off the morning of your second day at the statue of The Little Mermaid, Copenhagen’s renowned emblem derived from Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale. While the sculpture might seem modest, an early visit allows for a less crowded experience, perfect for capturing that solo snapshot.

You can reach this spot by heading to the Osterport station, which is serviced by both the M3 and M4 metro lines.

Kastellet: A Citadel of Heritage and Tranquility Step back in time at Kastellet, the 17th-century star-shaped fortress that still houses military barracks. It’s a serene place for a leisurely walk, complete with a traditional windmill and nature’s embrace. Nearby, the elegant St. Alban’s Anglican Church, the majestic Gefion Fountain, and the thought-provoking ZinkGlobal sculpture, “The Key to the Future,” await your contemplation.

Amalienborg Palace: Royal Traditions Up Close Continue your journey through Copenhagen’s regal history at Amalienborg, the Danish Royal Family’s residence since the late 18th century. The palace square, flanked by four symmetrical buildings, comes to life at noon with the grand changing of the guard ceremony. While Christian IX’s Palace remains closed to the public, the Amalienborg Museum in Christian VIII’s Palace offers a glimpse into the lives of Danish monarchs.

Frederik’s Church: An Ode to Elegance Just a stone’s throw from Amalienborg, Frederik’s Church, known as the Marble Church, boasts the largest dome in Scandinavia, creating an atmosphere of tranquility and grandeur. It’s a perfect spot to pause and reflect amidst your explorations.

The Design Museum: A Beacon of Creativity (Currently Closed) Although closed at the time of writing (March 2022), when open, the Design Museum is a must-visit for enthusiasts of Danish creativity. It’s merely a five-minute stroll from Frederik’s Church.

Nyhavn: The Quintessential Copenhagen Nyhavn’s 17th-century harborfront is a postcard-perfect tableau of Copenhagen, with its vibrant array of historical houses. This charming district invites leisurely walks and is dotted with cozy cafes and eateries where you can relax and soak up the lively ambiance.

Tivoli Gardens: A Whimsical World of Wonders No visit to Copenhagen is complete without a day at Tivoli Gardens, an enchanting amusement park beloved by all ages. With its blend of thrilling rides, tranquil gardens, live entertainment, and dining options, Tivoli is more than just an amusement park—it’s a cultural landmark that has captured the imaginations of storytellers from Hans Christian Andersen to Walt Disney. Open from April to September and during special seasons like Halloween and Christmas, Tivoli offers a magical escape within the city.

Pro Tip for Day Two: Wrap up your day at a Mikkeller bar, where you can sample craft beers born from a passion project that grew into an international sensation. Whether you’re a connoisseur or casual enjoyer of hops and malts, Mikkeller’s innovative brews are a fitting end to a day of discovery.

Day 3 in Copenhagen: Immersive Exploration and Hidden Gems

As you embark on the final leg of your Copenhagen adventure, prepare for a day brimming with sights and experiences that will deepen your affection for this enchanting city. The day’s agenda is filled with hidden corners and vibrant neighborhoods that offer a fresh perspective on the Danish capital.

Christianshavn: A Bohemian Rhapsody by the Canals Your day begins in the eclectic Christianshavn, easily accessible via the M1 or M2 metro lines. Stepping off at the Christianshavn station, you are immediately enveloped in the neighborhood’s bohemian spirit. Stroll along the canal sides flanked by vividly painted houses, and observe the array of boats that have been ingeniously converted into charming floating homes. Allow Christianshavn’s distinctive vibe to captivate your senses as you meander through its streets.

It seems you’ve got an impressively comprehensive itinerary laid out for your third day in Copenhagen. Let’s summarize and organize it to help you make the most of your final day:

Morning: Christianshavn and Local Highlights

  • Christianshavn: Start your day with a stroll through this picturesque area. Immerse yourself in the bohemian vibe and take in the colorful houses along the canals.

  • The Church of Our Saviour: Your cultural morning continues with a climb to the top of this Baroque church. Remember to check the time before you go, as the climb is only available when the tower is open to visitors.

  • Freetown Christiania: Just a short walk from the church, delve into this unique community. Explore its unconventional lifestyle and vibrant street art.

Lunch: Broens Gadekøkken

  • Broens Gadekøkken: Time for a break at this bustling street food market. Indulge in a variety of cuisines and enjoy some people-watching.

Afternoon: Historical Sites and Nature

  • Rosenborg Castle: Make sure to check the opening times and book your ticket online in advance. Whether you explore the interiors or just the gardens, it’s a must-visit.

  • The Botanical Gardens: Right across Rosenborg Castle, the Botanical Gardens offer a peaceful retreat. If you’re keen, pay a visit to the Palm House and the Butterfly House within.

Bonus Activities: Beyond the Itinerary

  • A bike tour or day trips: If time allows, consider cycling around the city or take a day trip to nearby attractions like Malmo, Sweden or Elsinore.

Shopping and Museums: If Time Permits

  • Shopping: For those interested in fashion and design, Købmagergade and Pilestræde are the go-to streets.

  • Museums: Depending on your interests, you could visit The National Museum, The National Gallery, or NY Carlsberg Glyptotek.

Relaxing: Beaches and Kayaking

  • Amager Beach: If it’s a warm day, consider a trip to the beach for some relaxation or water sports.

Beer and Zoos: Additional Options

  • Carlsberg Tour: If the visitor center is open, it’s an educational and enjoyable experience for beer enthusiasts.

  • Frederiksberg: For a touch of greenery and animal encounters, visit the gardens or the Copenhagen Zoo.

Practical Tips for the Day:

  • Copenhagen Card: Many attractions offer free entry with this card, so it might be worth purchasing if you plan to visit multiple sites.

  • Online Booking: Remember to book tickets in advance for Rosenborg Castle to secure your slot.

  • Pack Accordingly: Be prepared with comfortable shoes for walking and climbing, and carry a light jacket for the unpredictable Copenhagen weather.

  • Stay Fueled: There are plenty of places to eat, but don’t forget to stay hydrated and take occasional breaks.

Enjoy your final day in Copenhagen! Remember, the city’s charm often lies in its unexpected corners, so while it’s great to have a plan, allow yourself some spontaneity to discover something new.

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