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Visit the River Walk in San Antonio, Texas ~ Fun Tourist Destination!

Updated on August 1, 2017
Peggy W profile image

San Antonio is a charming and historic city in Texas. My future husband spent many childhood years there. It has the Alamo and so much more!

Boatride along San Antonio Riverwalk
Boatride along San Antonio Riverwalk | Source


San Antonio River Walk

Next to The Alamo, San Antonio's famous Riverwalk in downtown is probably one of the most visited tourist destinations ever in that part of Texas and for good reason. But it was not always the case.

From the age of 10 my husband grew up in San Antonio and can remember when the Riverwalk was a place to be avoided due to muggings and mayhem. It was not well patrolled by police nor as scenic an area as it is today.

San Antonio houses several military bases and even the soldiers were advised to stay clear of that area!

All of that changed substantially for the better when HemisFair came to San Antonio.

1968 World's Fair

In preparation for the World's Fair in 1968 city planners helped to spur endeavors to help clean up the downtown river area and help to show off the City of San Antonio to the many tourists from around the world who might be seeing it for the first time.

This of course happens in every town, city or country when events of great magnitude bring attention to a place along with tourists and their dollars.

Whether it is Olympics, World Fairs or other events, it generally encourages the host city to put on its best face for others to see.

Efforts to extend the river, both for HemisFair and since have served the city and its businesses well.

The Riverwalk is now well policed and people can feel safe whether strolling the sidewalks, taking a boat ride, shopping or dining at one of the many restaurants that line the scenic riverfront.

San Antonio River Walk
San Antonio River Walk | Source

HemisFair

HemisFair had already taken place when I was taking my psychiatric nursing course in San Antonio, so we students took full advantage of the scenery and action when we had some free time.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Arneson River Theatre on the San Antonio RiverwalkArneson River Theatre on the San Antonio Riverwalk
Arneson River Theatre on the San Antonio Riverwalk
Arneson River Theatre on the San Antonio Riverwalk | Source
Arneson River Theatre on the San Antonio Riverwalk
Arneson River Theatre on the San Antonio Riverwalk | Source

The scenery included all the attractive young men in soldier's uniforms who were found in abundance gracing the Riverwalk with their handsome youthful faces and firm bodies.

Crowd walking along the Riverwalk probably for an Art Fest event
Crowd walking along the Riverwalk probably for an Art Fest event | Source

I don't think that any of my classmates found their Mr. Right among those Army and Air Force guys, but we certainly had some fun visiting, flirting, dining, dancing, singing and even one time went on a swimming date with a group of them. I vaguely remember a nice kiss or two or three or more.

Ah yes! Those were the days!

My single dating days. Photo taken at the Sunken Gardens in San Antonio. Already an operating room nurse at this point.
My single dating days. Photo taken at the Sunken Gardens in San Antonio. Already an operating room nurse at this point. | Source

Only one mishap occurred while coming down the steps of one of those stone bridges that links one side of the Riverwalk to the other. One of my heels broke off and fortunately I caught myself prior to tumbling down face forward.

It was common back then to wear high heels. So at first glance it would have appeared to onlookers that I had a severe limp. No soldier's eye was caught that day! (Smile)

The San Antonio Riverwalk
The San Antonio Riverwalk | Source

Sites of Interest near the Riverwalk

With the Riverwalk in downtown San Antonio as well as many other great sites of interest in this city, any tourist is sure to head for that area if they want to depart with a true flavor of having visited San Antonio.

A sampling of sites that one can see in addition to the things along the waterway that are adjacent or nearby include some of the following.

  • The Alamo ~ Most people already know that this was the place of a historic mission where the famous battle took place between early Texans fighting for independence from Mexico.

The Alamo in San Antonio, TX
The Alamo in San Antonio, TX | Source
  • La Villita ~ One of the first neighborhoods in San Antonio is adjacent to the Riverwalk. It has an interesting history and now houses an active arts community in the quaint architecturally styled buildings. If one is looking for a distinctively different and handmade object of art, perhaps as a souvenir, head for La Villita. A wide variety of choices will be offered to suit almost any one's interest or budget. My husband's office for many years was furnished with some artwork that we acquired at La Villita.

La Villita National Historic District - San Antonio, TX USA
La Villita National Historic District - San Antonio, TX USA | Source
  • The Spanish Governor's Palace ~ Now a museum, this was the capitol building of the Spanish Texas in 1722. Although it has the name of King Ferdinand VI and the date of 1749 inscribed over the door, it was actually never inhabited by the Spanish king, but instead was the working residence of the local captain in the area. It is a beautiful building worth seeing and one can learn more history of the early days in the San Antonio region by visiting there.

Inside of Spanish Govenors Palace in San Antonio, Texas. Built 1749.
Inside of Spanish Govenors Palace in San Antonio, Texas. Built 1749. | Source
  • The King William District ~ This is now a historic district where mansions mingle with more modest abodes. One of the first neighborhoods established in this region of Texas, it was first settled by immigrant Germans. Located on the south side of the San Antonio River, one can take hourly tours through this district or walk the streets or even stay in one of the Bed and Breakfast establishments in this beautiful area. ( I created a linocut inspired by one of the columned homes seen there and titled it "Classically Adorned." This is just one of several limited edition linocuts created with the buildings in San Antonio as inspiration for my artwork.

My original linoleum cut art print (linocut) of a house in the King William district of San Antonio. (c)
My original linoleum cut art print (linocut) of a house in the King William district of San Antonio. (c) | Source
  • El Mercado ~ An authentic old Spanish marketplace adds interest to this downtown area.

El Mercado in San Antonio
El Mercado in San Antonio | Source
  • HemisFair Plaza ~ Among many remaining buildings from the 1968 World's Fair is the 750 foot Tower of the Americas set in an area of 92 acres. If one wants a bird's eye view of San Antonio from the top of the tower in a setting of waterfalls, a great children's playground, museums, etc., head on over to this plaza.

Entrance to Tower of the Americas in San Antonio, TX
Entrance to Tower of the Americas in San Antonio, TX | Source

There are many other buildings and sites of interest near the downtown Riverwalk, but perhaps this will give a tourist a starting place in which to think about making some plans if visiting this scenic city in the future not to mention the outlying areas of interest.

One of our favorite places along the Riverwalk looking down at the Kangaroo Court
One of our favorite places along the Riverwalk looking down at the Kangaroo Court | Source

Through the years when my mother-in-law still lived in San Antonio, my husband and I spent many a happy hour strolling along the River Walk and taking in the sites.

We have dined at a number of the restaurants while seated under the brightly colored umbrella tables outdoors and at the same time were able to watch the boats take tourists up and down the San Antonio River. One of our favorite restaurants was Casa Rio.

This is a great area for people watching!

Now that I am older those young soldiers that still frequent this downtown location look like fresh faced babies to me. What happened?

Of course, as I look in the mirror, I believe Father Time has been adjusting the mirrors because they no longer reflect what I feel like inside. He has a mischievous sense of humor! At least, so far, he has left my memories pretty much intact. He had better not mess with those!

Old postcard picked up by my grandparents who traveled to San Antonio many years ago.
Old postcard picked up by my grandparents who traveled to San Antonio many years ago. | Source

On the back of the vintage postcard (shown above) that my grandparents had acquired many years ago while visiting San Antonio the following can be read:

CASA RIO MEXICAN FOODS

Catering in the Old Mexico Atmosphere on the Beautiful Patio at the Bank of the winding San Antonio River. 100 W. Commerce.

NATURAL COLOR by Mike Roberts, BERKLEY 2, CALIF.

Distributed by C.F. Searls & Son, 2015 E. Houston St., San Antonio, Texas.

A. F. BEYER - JOHNSON SMITH Owners & Operators

In this post I merely tried to give one an impression of the downtown area along the San Antonio River and it is by no means exhaustive of what there is to do and see in this great city.

There is much, much more to this charming inland metropolis that could keep one entertained for weeks at a time.

San Antonio, Texas provides a fun tourist destination for out of towners with its many historic buildings, Spanish culture and flavor, with venues like the River Walk. Come, explore and enjoy!

San Antonio River Walk, Texas, USA
San Antonio River Walk, Texas, USA | Source

Have you spent some time at the Riverwalk in San Antonio?

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Location of San Antonio in the State of Texas

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San Antonio, Texas:
San Antonio, TX, USA

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© 2009 Peggy Woods

Comments are most welcome!

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    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Patricia,

      Some friends of mine have mentioned that I should write books or have my own website. I am working on the latter idea. Glad you enjoy these hubs and thanks for the share. Hope your family does get well. Am keeping them in my thoughts and prayers.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      3 years ago from sunny Florida

      Hi Peggy

      You know that I am composing a travel brochure from your hubs to use when I do get to Texas (if I can ever get my family well enough so I can come).

      Thank you for all of the great tips.

      And I also will gladly share this

      Voted up shared and pinned to Awesome HubPages ps

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi poetryman6969,

      Some parts of the River Walk in San Antonio are better to walk along than others. The boat rides certainly go further now than they did when they were first started. Nice that you have personally experienced both. As to my photo...that was many moons ago! :)

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Don,

      I think cities with rivers running through them are all considering making them a focal point. Some of them got started in featuring them as an asset earlier than others.

      Happy for you that even with that last snowfall, Spring is bound to win the battle against Mr. Winter sometime soon weather wise no matter what the calendar shows. This is bluebonnet season in these parts and although we have not yet taken a country drive, we see patches of them in Houston now. Thanks for the share.

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 

      3 years ago

      I definitely prefer the guided boat tour to actually walking the river walk. Someone had a infant who did not care for the sun and all the people our last trip but we enjoyed the ride anyway.

      You looked nice by the Sunken Garden.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Susie,

      Yes it would be nice! Houston has a bayou running through the center of town and they are doing some wonderful things with it. Thanks for the share.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      3 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Hi Peggy! The San Antonio River Walk certainly looks like an attractive and pleasant place to spend an afternoon. My hometown of Minneapolis has done similar things along the river. Although I seldom visit the river here, I would miss it if I did not live near it. All the snow melted off here in Wisconsin, but then we got some more. Up votes and sharing.

    • colorfulone profile image

      Susie Lehto 

      3 years ago from Minnesota

      I just tried to leave a comment but must have hit the wrong button and got sent to your profile page, like wow man!

      I was saying that I think every city should have a river walk for people to enjoy. And, wouldn't it be nice if there were trees and bushes with edible fruits and berries for anyone to eat.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello GermaineWilson86,

      Nice that you have great memories of being on the San Antonio River Walk. :)

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Alicia,

      I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed your virtual look at the San Antonio Riverwalk area. Yes...it has surely changed and all for the better. It is a beautiful attraction in that Texas city. Thanks for your comment.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      The Riverwalk area of San Antonio looks like it has a wonderful atmosphere, Peggy. I'd love to take photos there. I'm impressed with how the area was changed from a dangerous place for visitors into a tourist attraction. I enjoyed reading your hub as well as traveling along the Riverwalk as I looked at the photos and watched the videos!

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi bdegiulio,

      Hope that your son is enjoying his Air Force experience. Please thank him for serving our country for me. Nice that you got to see some of San Antonio including the Riverwalk & Alamo while you were there. Thanks for your comment.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi KoffeeKlatch Gals,

      Hope your wishes come true and that you get to see and enjoy the San Antonio Riverwalk in person someday. Thanks for your comment.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Peggy. Brings back memories of my son's Air Force boot camp graduation when we were in San Antonio a few years back. Wonderful city with lots to see and do. We really enjoyed the River Walk and the Alamo. Great Hub.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      6 years ago from Sunny Florida

      The Riverwalk looks and sounds amazing. Your pictures are beautiful. Some4day I may get to visit...Someday.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello breathing,

      Glad that you liked this hub about the San Antonio, Texas River Walk. It is a fun place for tourists and those who live in San Antonio as well.

    • breathing profile image

      Sajib 

      7 years ago from Bangladesh

      Great hub....you have written well.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello Abecedarian,

      Since my mother-in-law no longer lives in San Antonio we do not get over there nearly as often. Thanks for describing what will be happening to the Riverwalk. Sounds absolutely wonderful! It will certainly help spur tourism to the Mission San Jose and probably the other missions once people see that one. There is so much history in San Antonio! My husband will be very interested in reading this as he spent many of his childhood years in San Antonio. Thanks!

    • Abecedarian profile image

      Abecedarian 

      8 years ago from These United States, Texas

      Peggy, this an amazing hub. I can understand why people think the Alamo is small, the outlying wall of the Alamo includes the park in front of it and other buildings were distroyed in the battle and with time. I don't know how long it's been since you've been to San Antonio, but the Riverwalk will be an amazing place to see in a couple of years. It's expanding all the way to Mission San Jose. They tore down the old drive-in theatre and are building a mega library with outdoor theatre for "movie in the park" type affair. The river taxi will charge a day pass fee so that tourists can get off and on at different locations.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Greetings Anolinde,

      If you can possibly visit the San Antonio Riverwalk around Christmas-time, with all the sparkling lights in the trees reflecting in the water below, your family would be dazzled by the beauty. Hope your wish comes true! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

    • Anolinde profile image

      Jane Simmons 

      8 years ago from Niigata

      I've been there once with my ex-boyfriend. Absolutely beautiful, especially at night! Would love to take my family there one of these days :) Great hub!

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi successfulblogger,

      I have to agree with you! We have enjoyed San Antonio's Riverwalk all times of the day and night. So much to offer not only tourists but also local residents. Soon the Christmas lights will be hanging from the trees reflecting in the water. Pretty time of year over there. Thanks for commenting.

    • successfulblogger profile image

      successfulblogger 

      8 years ago from Los Angeles,Ca

      The Riverwalk is fun, both during the day and at night.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello Truth From Truth,

      Hope you get to San Antonio, Texas and get to enjoy the Riverwalk, Los Patios, The Alamo, the missions and much, much more. It really IS a fun tourist destination! Glad you liked this hub.

      It is my pleasure reading your hubs. The best way to get people reading your hubs is to read and comment on other people's hubs. Often people do the nice thing and reciprocate.

      Thanks for the comments.

    • Truth From Truth profile image

      Truth From Truth 

      8 years ago from Michigan

      Ive always wanted to go to San Antonio

      after reading your hub

      it sounds even more tempting

      great pictures , well placed information

      thank you

    • Truth From Truth profile image

      Truth From Truth 

      8 years ago from Michigan

      thanks for checking my hub page

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Laurel,

      Wouldn't count on the lottery. Gave up on that idea years ago...just can't stand throwing money away. Ha!

      Visiting San Antonio did not cost us much beyond the gas getting there as my mother-in-law used to live in that city. She has now gone on to her next life...but we surely enjoyed seeing more of San Antonio when she was alive. At the least...we had free lodging!

    • Laurel Oakes profile image

      Laurel Oakes 

      8 years ago

      I need to win the lottery just so I can go to all the wonderful places in your Hub's.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello Wendi M,

      Have a wonderful time on the Riverwalk seeing the great lighting display this year. Nice that you get to visit San Antonio that often. Thanks for the comment. Do you have favorite places or are you still trying the different ones out each time?

    • Wendi M profile image

      Wendi M 

      9 years ago from New Hampshire

      I love this Hub. My parents moved down to Medina, from New England, 4 years ago. I was flying down there once a year, and spending at least one night on the Riverwalk each time.

      I've already been down there twice this year, and I'm flying back down for Thanksgiving. We're supposed to spend the Saturday night after Thanksgiving on the Riverwalk to see the display of Lights.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello Prosehag,

      You certainly confirmed the idea that San Antonio's Riverwalk is a fun tourist destination! Thanks for recording your fondness for this area. Wish I was sitting alongside the river right now!

    • Prosehag profile image

      Prosehag 

      9 years ago from Central Savannah Riparian Area of Gawga

      I LOVE the Riverwalk; your hub is well written and informative-- I like that you include the history of the river area, because the transformation is truly amazing. Many other cities would do well to do similar things with their own rivers.

      The Christmas lights coming on at the Thanksgiving celebration, with the boat parade and entertainments--all those bands and other music--, is the best!! Fun for everyone!I have only great memories of San Aantonio!

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello GNelson,

      Nice to hear that you enjoyed San Antonio's Riverwalk so much that you went back with your wife. Hopefully she liked it as much as did you. Thanks for the comment.

    • GNelson profile image

      GNelson 

      9 years ago from Florida

      The riverwalk at Christmas was very nice! Went there on business and had to go back with my wife.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello The Rope,

      Very happy to have given you a bit more information about San Antonio, Texas and the Riverwalk. Thanks for leaving a comment. Am sure that if you go, you will enjoy yourself.

    • The Rope profile image

      The Rope 

      9 years ago from SE US

      keep hearing how great it is, this hub really lays everything out, makes me want to visit even more. thanks for a good read!

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi jill of alltrades,

      I also hope that you can visit the Riverwalk in San Antonio someday and also see many of the other sites in that great city. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

    • jill of alltrades profile image

      jill of alltrades 

      9 years ago from Philippines

      Very interesting! I wish I can visit one day!

      Thank you for sharing.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Candie,

      Will check it. Thanks for the heads-up. Don't check it as often as I should. LOL

    • Candie V profile image

      Candie V 

      9 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

      Hey! Oh, I wanna I wanna I wanna!! (PS, check your email..sent you a request!)

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello Candie,

      I really, REALLY! hope you get to visit there since you so DEARLY want to become a tourist in San Antonio. Let me know when you go and perhaps we can meet under one of those colorful umbrella tables on the Riverwalk. Wouldn't THAT be nice! Thanks for the comment.

    • Candie V profile image

      Candie V 

      9 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

      Ah, Peggy, you've done it again! This is one place I would dearly (did I say 'dearly'?.. I mean 'DEARLY') love to visit! I've seen photos of it at night, and it is spectacular!! Great hub.. and thank you!!

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Ethel,

      I had gone over to San Antonio with a fellow OR nurse the year after graduating and we did more touring. Thus, the Sunken Garden backdrop. May do some more hubs about things in San Antonio in the future. Glad you enjoyed the trip and the old photo. (Smile)

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Hello, hello,

      Like you...I also like reading about other places. Glad you enjoyed this hub about the Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas. If you ever come for a visit, you will have some idea of what there is to do and see while there. Thanks for the comment.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi agusfanani,

      This link will tell you more about the legendary hero Jim Bowie: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Bowie He died at The Alamo fighting off forces from Mexico during the battle for Texas independence.

      Lots of history in San Antonio, Texas! Thanks for commenting.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Ethel Smith 

      9 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Well I enjoyed this trip. Nice touch the photo from your dating days :)

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      9 years ago from London, UK

      This is a great hub and I like reading about other places. Thank you for sharing these photos and bringing all these information to our attention.

    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 

      9 years ago from Indonesia

      As answered the poll that I never visited Texas, but this hub has given quite a lot information about Texas. I'd read a story about Fort of Alamo and I think it depicted heroic sides of American. One story which I liked very much about a legendary soldier Jim Bowie also came from this city, right ?

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Happy that you liked this San Antonio Riverwalk hub, sukhera143. Thanks!

    • sukhera143 profile image

      sukhera143 

      9 years ago from Home

      Great hub.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Greetings Godslittlechild,

      They have celebrations along the Riverwalk many different times throughout the year and it really gets decorated at Christmas time. Colored lights dangling from the trees with reflections in the water make it really pretty. Glad to have shown you a bit more about it and thanks for leaving a comment.

    • Godslittlechild profile image

      Godslittlechild 

      9 years ago

      I saw the Riverwalk 4th of July Celebration one year on tv. It looked wonderful to me and your hub confirms it!

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello loveroflife,

      I agree! I was simply concentrating on the Riverwalk in San Antonio and may address some other sites in the future with hubs. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment. Obviously you, like Pete, have visited San Antonio.

    • profile image

      loveroflife 

      9 years ago

      Old Spanish missions, especially San Jose Mission, are also great attractions in San Antonio.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hey Pete,

      What is this negative attitude about visiting Texas? There is much here to like if pointed in the right direction. (Smile) So you have visited the Riverwalk and Alamo in San Antonio. The Alamo seems particularly small being surrounded by the city as it is. We all had the same reaction as you when seeing it for the first time.

    • Pete Maida profile image

      Pete Maida 

      9 years ago

      I'm not a big fan of visiting Texas but I thought the Riverwalk was a great place. I was also amazed at how small the Alamo was.

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