As a lover of history and mountains, Grindelwald has always been on my radar since I learned that it is one of the places in Switzerland where the golden age of alpinism began. The stories of the greatest alpinists who conquered the notorious Eiger’s north face taught me the importance of perseverance and mental strength in achieving one’s goals.
Wait, Grindelwald and Eiger, what’s the connection? Well, it’s in Grindelwald, where you can get the best views of the legendary north face of Eiger.
And if you’re looking to visit Grindelwald and see Eiger’s north face and other breathtaking alpine views without breaking the bank, I’m here to assist you. I’ll provide you with (1) a list of free things to do in Grindelwald and (2) a sample Grindelwald itinerary to explain how you can spend a day on a budget. Let’s get started!
So, where exactly is Grindelwald?
Grindelwald is a village in the Jungfrau Region of the Bernese Oberland, situated in the southern part of the Canton of Bern. The distance by road from the Swiss capital to Grindelwald is around 75 kilometers, and the drive takes only 1.5 hours.
Located in Switzerland, you can expect that you can also reach Grindelwald by public transportation conveniently. But you have to get to Interlaken OST first — the main transport hub of the Jungfrau Region. It is only one train ride away from Bern, Basel, or Zurich.
If you’re interested in seeing marvelous medieval city architecture, I urge you to spend one day in Bern. For me, it’s the most beautiful city in Switzerland, and it’s a nice stop before visiting the spectacular Jungfrau Region.
Once you arrive in Interlaken, you need to ride another train — the last leg of your journey to Grindelwald. The train ride lasts for 45 minutes, passing through the hamlets along the Black Lütschine River.
Before we delve into the list of free things to do in Grindelwald, it’s important to note that it’s really impossible to spend a day in Grindelwald without spending money aside from food. This is especially crucial to keep in mind when planning your budget Grindelwald trip.
The primary travel expense that you should consider when visiting Grindelwald is transportation.
Although there are tourist attractions and activities that you can have for free in Grindelwald, you will still need to use cable cars/trains to reach them. Riding this public transportation isn’t free and definitely not cheap.
Since the last time I checked, the round trip tickets cost more or less 60 CHF.
Of course, you can explore the free tourist attractions without relying on public transportation. Hiking is a great alternative and a wonderful way to experience Grindelwald and the Jungfrau Region.
However, as you are not spending money to save time and energy, you are instead spending your time and energy to save money. This means that you will need more time to have all the experiences that you could have in a single day with the use of public transportation.
If you are traveling to the Jungfrau Region, you definitely need this: Jungfrau Region Itinerary: 4 Days in Interlaken on a Budget
But don’t you worry!
In the itinerary that I will share with you, I have ensured that you will spend no money in Grindelwald other than for transportation and food. I believe this is the best way to spend a day in Grindelwald on a budget.
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If you want to discover more adventurous activities or unmissable places in Grindelwald, I have linked them to the resources section of this post.
Free Things To Do In Grindelwald
Out of all the free activities and admission-free places of interest in Grindelwald, I only came across four or five that I would recommend. These happen to be the most distinctive options available for free. They are:
- Grindelwald-First Cliff Walk
- Panorama Trail
- Village Tour
Worry not having too much free time with these few free destinations/activities. They’re just enough to spend a day in Grindelwald on a budget. Nevertheless, if you prefer a more relaxing time surrounded by nature and picturesque scenery, I’m sure you’ll have a great time!
While it may not be as thrilling as jumping into the middle of Glacier Canyon, you can still experience a sense of adventure. You’ll see it later on.
If you have read my discussion of free activities in Grindelwald and found that you can enjoy the experiences they offer, then proceed with my Grindelwald itinerary. I will explain how to do and visit these activities and attractions in Grindelwald, along with some helpful tips.
Don’t miss out!
I’ll kick off with the closest free activity that you can do in Grindelwald: First Cliff Walk.
1. Grindelwald First Cliff Walk
Of all the summits overlooking Grindelwald, First is the easiest to reach.
This mountain, which stands at 2184 meters high, is accessible via a cableway that has a valley station located at the heart of Grindelwald village. It only takes 25 minutes to reach First from the village by riding the cable car.
When you arrive at the summit station of First, you will immediately see the First Cliff Walk. It is a metal walkway attached to the side of the cliff, offering absolutely breathtaking views of Grindelwald and the surrounding mountains — including Eiger!
During my research, I initially believed that it was just another viewing platform similar to Harder Kulm above Interlaken. (Read more about Harder Kulm: Here’s What You Can Expect To See In Harder Kulm)
However, I soon discovered that it is much more than that! First Cliff Walk is an exhilarating tourist attraction that boasts a single-rope hanging bridge and an elevated viewing platform with a sheer drop below!
Anyway, due to this, the First Cliff Walk has become Grindelwald’s famous landmark. It is an absolute must-see attraction, not only because it is free to enter but also because of the unforgettable and thrilling experience it offers.
For those who fear heights, First Cliff Walk should help them conquer it!
One of the most stunning high-elevation lakes in the Alps is located in Grindelwald, known as Bachalpsee. Visiting this lake is, without a doubt, the top free activity for nature lovers and photographers in Grindelwald.
Bachalpsee is an alpine lake, a gem that can be reached by hiking from First in approximately one hour.
This lake is divided into two parts, both of which are surrounded by flowery meadows during the summer. The ambiance here is idyllic, filled with the sound of cowbells. And indeed, if you’re seeking a free, soothing experience, Bachalpsee is the place to go.
What makes Bachalpsee exceptional?
It’s no other than Bachalpsee’s location, offering an unobstructed view of the alpine peaks southeast of Grindelwald, such as Schreckhorn (4078 meters) and Wetterhorn (3692 meters).
At an elevation of 2265, Bachalpsee is also perfectly situated to reflect these mountains when the surface is calm, creating a truly magical scene in the Alps.
Did you know that Bachalpsee is so beautiful that Google used it as the backdrop for their Gmail nature theme years ago?
By the way, are you interested in alpine lakes? Check out Iseltwald (Why Visit Iseltwald and How to Get to This Beautiful Village). This village sits along the shores of Lake Brienz, the most turquoise lake in Jungfrau Region and Switzerland (or perhaps in the whole world)!
Here’s where you can find all the best Things To Do In Lake Brienz (And Visiting Information).
Männlichen is one of the peaks that surround Grindelwald. It sits on a ridge that serves as Grindelwald’s natural border, separating it from Lauterbrunnen.
Similar to First, Männlichen has a cable car station. It is connected to Grindelwald Terminal, which you can also find in the village. Using the cable car, you can reach Männlichen from Grindelwald in around 20 minutes.
Männlichen is a mountain like no other in the Jungfrau Region. It is an unmissable place for the exceptional views it offers.
You can expect the view to be stunning even before you reach Männlichen’s cable car station. However, for the best you won’t forget, you must do the Royal Walk which ends at Männlichen’s summit.
The Royal Walk is a 15-minute one-way hike with absolutely rewarding views awaiting you on top. At 2343 meters high, Männlichen’s visitors enjoy the scenery of the entire Jungfrau Region — unobstructed in all directions. I’m sure it will inspire you to pull your cameras out of your pockets and take tens of photos.
In Männlichen, you can literally capture a panorama of the Jungfrau Region which includes not only Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau. You’ll also see an overlooking view of the Lauterbrunnen Valley, Grindelwald, and Schynige Platte!
You can learn more about Männlichen from my post, How to Reach Männlichen and Make the Most of Your Trip.
4. Panorama Trail
Did you know that there are hundreds of kilometers of marked hiking/mountain trails in the Jungfrau Region? Of the many segments of Jungfrau Region’s hiking trails, one you should not miss is the Panorama Trail.
Because the Panorama Trail is both easy and offers really breathtaking scenery. This path connects Männlichen and Kleine Scheidegg, where you can find some of the best views of the famous Jungfrau Region’s mountain trio.
Hiking Panorama Trail requires no hiking experience, especially if you start from Männlichen down to Kleine Scheidegg. It’s a 5-kilometer hiking trail which has an overall 200-meter elevation loss. It’s as easy as taking a stroll in the park!
The Panorama Trail is amazing because every part of it is great. You;ll get to see the impressive Eiger all the time during the hike, and it’s truly magnificent.
If you’re like me, you can let your imagination run wild and picture the first alpinists conquering Eiger’s difficult north face.
5. Village Tour
While Grindelwald may not be the most rustic village to wander around (I believe that title belongs to Gimmelwald), it still possesses a charm that rivals other alpine villages in the Swiss Alps. Exploring the village is a worthwhile free activity, particularly if you have a “wander-ful” spirit.
You can start exploring Grindelwald in Dorfstrasse, the main street of the village.
Here, you’ll find houses with beautifully preserved traditional architecture. The wooden chalets, with their sharply pitched roofs and colorfully adorned facades, are not only cute but also incredibly satisfying for wanderlust seekers.
I think you’ll also love how these chalets blend seamlessly into the natural surroundings. The mountains peeking above these wooden structures are a scene straight out of a magical movie, especially for people like me from a relatively modern city.
If you’re interested, you could visit the Grindelwald museum. There, you’ll find permanent exhibitions on agriculture and alpine farming, as well as exhibits about winter sports and local crafts.
The museum isn’t free, but it only costs a small admission fee. I find it unmissable because the best part of visiting the museum is learning about the Eiger and the mountaineers who conquered it.
Grindelwald Museum’s visiting information is found in the resources section of this post.
Grindelwald Sample Budget Itinerary
If you have enjoyed the overall experience of these free activities and tourist attractions in Grindelwald, let’s now discuss how you can visit them and have a memorable time without spending too much money.
Preparation (Tips and Reminders)
You may click here to skip this part and proceed to the main itinerary. But I strongly encourage you to read it.
There are only two requirements if you want to spend a day in Grindelwald on a budget following this itinerary.
1. You must wear comfortable shoes as there will be hiking.
While the hiking trails in Grindelwald included in this itinerary are relatively easy, it is advisable to wear appropriate hiking shoes to reduce the risk of even minor injuries.
2. You must already be in Grindelwald and prepared to start early in the morning before the Firstbahn cable car ascends to First.
As you probably know, Grindelwald is a well-known tourist destination in Switzerland. People from all corners of the globe come to visit its tourist spots, especially the First Cliff Walk, which is most popular during peak season or summer.
Beginning your trip early will enable you to encounter the serenity of the mountains and admire their beauty without the presence of crowds. Mountains possess a mystical quality, and you will have greater chances of witnessing their enchantment when there are no other travelers present.
I have visited the mountains multiple times, and the experience of being alone in the mountains has had a profound impact on my life. It may sound unbelievable, but it’s true.
Another important to consider: Is this one-day Grindelwald budget itinerary applicable for the entire year?
While this one-day Grindelwald budget itinerary is optimized for summer trips, it can still be used during winter. However, there are a few things to remember.
1. Schedules and operating hours of businesses and services
If you, like me, live near the equator, chances are you’re accustomed to shops, restaurants, tourist attractions, and public services having the same opening hours year-round. However, this is apparently not the case in Switzerland.
Usually, cable cars in Grindelwald have shorter operating hours in winter, with early closing times and late opening times. It’s crucial to keep this in mind when planning a trip to Grindelwald during the winter season.
The Grindelwald-Männlichen and Grindelwald-First cableways both have varied operational hours per season.
2. Access and availability of the hiking trails
As you may know, certain hiking trails become inaccessible during the winter season. Instead, some areas of the mountains are designated for skiing. This is the case for the hiking trails located near Männlichen.
3. Tourist attractions affected by the season
The cold season affects more than just hiking trails. Bachalpsee freezes and becomes covered in snow during winter, so we removed it from our itinerary for a visit to Grindelwald during this time.
Alright! Those are pretty much the basics to note.
Here’s a tip. If you possess a Jungfrau Travel Pass, you need not worry about transportation expenses when visiting the free tourist attractions in Grindelwald.
The Jungfrau Travel Pass is a unique travel pass that provides free travel for 3 to 8 consecutive days in various parts of the Jungfrau Region during non-winter months (typically from the first week of April to the first week of November).
Yep, you can access the Grindelwald-Männlichen and Grindelwald-First cableways for free with the Jungfrau Travel Pass!
However, the Jungfrau Travel Pass is not cheap. Pricing starts at 190 CHF for 3 days. Therefore, it is only recommended that you will visit Grindelwald and stay for longer to see more of the Jungfrau Region. For example, you also want to see Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, Gimmelwald, and Mürren all the way up to Schiltorn.
Learn about these places here:
- 7 Lauterbrunnen Viewpoints (with a map) – see the most picturesque spots for an epic photo souvenir
- Should You Visit Wengen? – for the best views of Lauterbrunnen
- 10 Things to Do in Mürren – a charming village with stunning views
- Beautiful Reasons to Visit Gimmelwald – the most rustic village in Jungfrau Region
You can read this article, The ultimate 5-day guide to Switzerland’s Jungfrau region, to know how you can make the most of the Jungfrau Travel Pass.
Summary of Grindelwald One Day Itinerary
Here’s an overview of how you can spend a day in Grindelwald visiting the places of interest mentioned in my list of free things to do in Grindelwald.
- 8:00 am — Ride the Cable Car to First
- 8:30 am — First Cliff Walk
- 9:00 am — Start hike to Bachalpsee
- 10:00 am — Relax, take pictures, and go on a picnic in Bachalpsee
- 11:00 am — Hike back to First
- 12:00 pm — Cable Car down to Grindelwald
- 12:30 pm — Lunch time!
- 2:00 pm — Cable Car to Männlichen
- 2:30 pm — Royal Walk and explore Männlichen
- 3:30 pm — Start Panorama Trail
- 5:30 pm — Train Kleine Scheidegg to Grindelwald Grund
- 6:00 pm – Explore the village
Please note that the timestamps provided are estimates and should only serve as a guide to prevent spending too much time on a particular attraction or activity.
However, if you prefer not to follow my Grindelwald itinerary, below are the approximate lengths of time that people usually spend on each destination or activity. They should help you create your own Grindelwald budget itinerary.
- Grindelwald to First (cable car; vice versa) — 25 minutes (fixed)
- First Cliff Walk — 15 minutes (approximate)
- Hike between First and Bachalpsee — 1 hour (minimum)
- Bachalpsee (with picnic) — 1 hour (approximate)
- Grindelwald to Männlichen (cable car; vice versa) – 20 minutes (fixed)
- Männlichen and Royal Walk — 1 hour (approximate)
- Panorama Trail — 1.5 hours (approximate)
Looking for different ways to travel in Switzerland? Check my itineraries below.
Here is the summary of this one day Grindelwald budget itinerary, showing the most beautiful moments in Grindelwald. Let your wanderlust spark!
Let’s get into details!
1. Cable Car from Grindelwald to First
Let’s start your journey at the valley station of Firstbahn, the cableway that takes you to the summit of First. You can find the valley station along Dorfstrasse, the main street of the village.
If you’re coming from Grindelwald Terminal or Grindelwald Grund, it’s just a few minutes walk to the east or follow the direction of Wetterhorn. Tip, you can ride bus #121 to get to Firstbahn faster.
I recommend arriving at the cable car station before the first ascent. This way, you’ll be the first to get to First Cliff Walk and avoid the crowds that come to the summit at midday.
The first ascent schedule varies between 8:00 am and 8:30 am. However, there are weeks in March and April when the first ascent is set late at 10:00 am.
Also, Please take note of the maintenance work, which usually lasts for a month and happens during the low season, around the first week of November.
Before reaching the summit, visitors can enjoy a scenic, 360-degree view of Grindelwald in all directions. It’s a great way to start your trip to Grindelwald.
The cable car will pass by two other cable car stations, Bort and Schreckfeld. From these stations (including the summit station), you can experience four of the most thrilling adventures in Grindelwald: the First Flyer, First Glider, First Mountain Cart, and First Trottibikes.
You can check the resources section of this post to learn more about the activities.
2. First Cliff Walk
When you arrive at First, you will easily spot Cliff Walk. The raised viewing platform of Cliff Walk is situated right next to the restaurant. From there, you can begin your walk on the metal platform.
I recommend walking back and forth on First Cliff Walk because the views vary in each direction. The view on your way back to the restaurant from the other end of First Cliff Walk is much better, as you’ll be able to see the breathtaking scenery of the mountains.
3. Hike to Bachalpsee
Bachalpsee is the next destination after First Cliff Walk. To get there, you need to hike. But don’t worry, the hike to Bachalpsee is an easy one.
In summary, the hiking trail to Bachalpsee spans for 2.8 kilometers and has an overall elevation gain of 150 meters. It takes approximately an hour to finish.
Only the first quarter of the hiking trail to Bachalpsee, from First to Gummihütte, is inclined and can be a little challenging for some. The rest of the hiking trail is like you’re just walking in a park.
If you see benches along the hiking trail, it means you have to pause and look around. They are usually breathtaking viewpoints. They’re an invitation to relax and appreciate the stunning surrounding scenery.
4. Bachalpsee (Picnic)
Bachalpsee is divided into two bodies by an isthmus, which marks the end of the hike to Bachalpsee. The bodies are linked by a small stream named Milibach, which is also a tributary of Schwarz Lütschine.
The larger and more elevated part of Bachalpsee is the one located further into the mountains. It is part of the lake, which is surrounded by more verdant and flowery meadows – perfect for a picnic!
I’m certain that you will fall in love with Bachalpsee as soon as your eyes land on the lower part of the lake. Despite its smaller size, it is where you can find the most breathtaking view – the one that will complete your visit to Bachalpsee.
The smaller section of Lake Bachalpsee is the perfect spot for taking photographs. When the weather is fantastic, and the wind is gentle, you can see the snow-capped mountains on the opposite side of Grindelwald reflected in the lake’s calm surface.
Like the benches you’ll find along the hiking trail to Bachalpsee, the benches facing the smaller part of Bachalpsee are also beautiful vantage points for appreciating the lake. If you are a photographer, you know what it means!
It’s up to you how long you spend at Bachalpsee. However, if you’re following my itinerary, I suggest you start hiking back to First an hour before noon for lunch.
5. Back to the Village (Lunch)
You can have lunch at the restaurant at the cable car station as soon as you reach First. However, if you want to save money, I suggest going down to the village where there are more options and cheaper alternatives.
If you’re really looking to save money, there’s a medium-sized COOP supermarket in Grindelwald where you can find sandwiches for 4 to 5 CHF, which are perfect for this budget trip.
Keep in mind that you can also have lunch at other cable car stations, such as Firstbahn or Männlichen — the next destinations on this itinerary.
While it’s certainly fancy to enjoy lunch with the snowy peaks as your backdrop, the price you might pay could be as high as the altitude of the restaurant you plan to dine at.
6. Grindelwald Terminal (Cable Car to Männlichen)
The afternoon leg of this one-day Grindelwald budget itinerary begins at Grindelwald Terminal, which is also the cable car valley station to Männlichen.
If you’re coming from the Firstbahn valley station, you can easily reach Grindelwald Terminal by taking bus #121. The travel time is approximately 15 minutes, which is 15 minutes shorter than walking.
At Grindelwald Terminal, you can choose the type of roundtrip journey ticket you want to visit Männlichen.
There are a few options, but I recommend taking the “Grindelwald-Männlichen-Panoramaweg-Kleine Scheidegg-Grindelwald” Route. This route involves riding a cable car from Grindelwald to Männlichen, hiking to Kleine Scheidegg, and then taking a train back to Grindelwald.
If you prefer not to hike and want to spend your whole afternoon in Männlichen, another option is the “Grindelwald-Männlichen-Grindelwald” cable car round trip journey.
To make your trip more convenient, I suggest booking your ticket online through Männlichen’s official website, which is linked in the resources section of this post. The cable car journey to Männlichen lasts for 20 minutes and offers stunning views of Eiger’s north face and the Jungfrau massif.
7. Männlichen (Royal Walk)
Upon arriving at Männlichen, you’ll be greeted by the delightful sound of chiming cowbells and children’s laughter as they play in the mountain’s playground. It’s really a good vibe, especially with the panoramic views of the Jungfrau region all around you.
While you may be tempted to spend some time in the playground or on the benches near the cable car stations, I suggest heading straight to the summit (Royal Walk) upon arrival.
It’s best to spend more time at the summit of Männlichen to fully appreciate the changing beauty of the mountain. The longer you stay, the greater your chances of witnessing the most spectacular views of the Jungfrau Region.
As you may already know, mountain weather can change quickly, affecting the appearance of the landscape. For instance, if the mountains are currently shrouded in clouds, waiting a few moments may allow the wind to blow them away, revealing the epic scenery.
8. Panorama Trail (Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg)
Since you’re already at Männlichen, you must try the Panorama Trail. This hiking trail not only offers breathtaking views all the time, but it’s also an easy downhill course that requires almost no effort to make a memorable hike.
Similar to the hike from First to Bachalpsee, this trail has a wide gravel path and is well-marked. Depending on your walking speed, it may take you 1.5 to 2 hours to finish the hike.
If you’re interested, you can make a quick detour to Restaurant Grindelwaldblick just before reaching Kleine Scheidegg. It’s a restaurant with an epic view overlooking Kleine Scheidegg and Jungfrau Massif that you won’t want to miss!
9. Train to Grindelwald Grund from Kleine Scheidegg
Kleine Scheidegg is the final stop on this one-day Grindelwald budget itinerary. Once you arrive here, you can take the train back to Grindelwald and conclude your trip for the day.
I chose to include the train ride back to Grindelwald from Kleine Scheidegg instead of the cable car Grindelwald-Männlichen-Grindelwald round trip, not only because it is a few CHF cheaper but also because the Wengernalpbahn railway that connects Kleine Scheidegg and Grindelwald (as well as Lauterbrunnen) is an amazing experience. Wengernalpbahn is the world’s longest cogwheel train and one of Switzerland’s most scenic.
You can try their newest trains that have large glass windows, which will undoubtedly make your Grindelwald trip unforgettable! This stunning train ride lasts approximately 25 minutes.
Sources: Grindelwald Itinerary (More Things To Do)
This post may be lengthy, but the itinerary is simple, right?
Anyways, that’s all there is to it! You can spend a day in Grindelwald without spending too much money.
However, before you embark on this adventure, make sure to check the train and cable car schedules, as well as the availability of hiking trails, using the links provided below.
- Grindelwald-Männlichen cable car schedule (and tickets)
- Hiking information in Jungfrau Region
- Transportation operating information in Jungfrau Region (Wengernalpbahn and Grindelwald-First cable car)
- Grindelwald-First cable car tickets
You can book your tickets online using the same websites linked above.
It’s important to consider the weather before heading up to the mountains. Unfortunately, predicting the chance of rain or sunshine for the date of your visit to Grindelwald is impossible a month or a week before the actual trip.
So, if you have a flexible schedule during your trip to Switzerland or the Jungfrau Region, I suggest buying your Grindelwald tickets online a day or a few days before your visit when you already have an idea of what the weather will be.
If your trip to the Jungfrau Region is spontaneous, you can check the live camera views of the different mountains and summits in the area. This will assist you in determining whether the roundtrip tickets are worthwhile for the views from the summit or the tourist attractions in the mountains.
Grindelwald serves as the adventure hub of the Jungfrau Region. To discover more about the exciting adventures and amazing attractions I mentioned earlier in this post, simply follow the links below.
- First Flyer – Awesome zip line activity from First to Schreckfeld
- First Glider – A new zip line concept activity from Schreckfeld to First and back.
- First Mountain Cart – Adventurous adventure Schreckfeld to Bort
- First Trottibikes – A scenic fun ride back to the village from Bort
- Pfingstegg – Outdoor fun best for traveling families
- Lütschine River – Rafting on grade 3 or grade 4 rapids
- Glacier Canyon – Hike inside an impressive canyon with a spider net over the river.
- Grindelwald Museum – place to get insights into alpinism and the history of Grindelwald.
Are you still looking for more things to do? You can check this complete list of things to do in Bernese Oberland. If you are planning to spend more time in Grindelwald, consider visiting Jungfraujoch.
Jungfraujoch stands as the ultimate tourist attraction in the Jungfrau Region. It may seem unbelievable, but this saddle, located at an altitude of 3,463 meters between two peaks that exceed 4,000 meters in height, can be reached in just over an hour. You can either take a combination of cable car and train or two train rides to get there.
Learn more about Jungfraujoch here.
Lastly, have you booked any accommodation yet? If not, here’s where you can find the best hotel deals in the Jungfrau Region or Bernese Oberland. The website has a map feature that can help you easily locate the most convenient places to stay.
Before you go, you might like to discover this first: 10 Unmissable Things To Do In Interlaken Jungfrau Region
That would be all. 🙂 I hope you enjoy your trip and don’t forget to live every moment of your life!
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