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Umeå

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Västerbotten : Umeå
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Umeå city hall

Umeå [1] is a city of about 110,000 located near the mouth of the Ume River and is the capital of Västerbotten County in Norrland in Northern Sweden. The city's nickname is the "Town of Silver Birches".


Understand

Being the regional capital of Västerbotten, Umeå is also the educational and economic capital city of the region. With its strategic location along the E4 national highway, most transportation to the northern part of Sweden goes through here. With the completion of Botniabanan[2] in August 2010, the traveling time from Stockholm will be greatly reduced. Umeå has the largest hospital in Northern Sweden as well as the largest university. Situated on top of a small hill overseeing the Ume river and downtown Umeå, they are by far the largest employers in the region. Due to the university, Umeå has one of the lowest average ages in the entiry country with a lively night life and creative scene. Umeå has been awarded the title European capital of culture 2014 [3].

Get in

By plane

  • SAS [4] has seven flights on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, five flights on Thursdays and Fridays, two flights on Saturdays and three flights on Sundays to Stockholm-Arlanda. The flight to Kiruna has been rerouted and goes through Luleå now.
  • Malmö Aviation [5] has five flights Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday and six flights Thursday and Friday to Stockholm-Bromma, some of them continuing on to Göteborg. On Saturdays there are two flights.
  • Norwegian [6] has four flights Monday to Friday to Stockholm-Arlanda. On Saturdays there is one flight and on Sundays there are three flights.
  • Next Jet [7] has two flights Monday to Friday to Östersund and Luleå. There are no flights on weekends and during July.
  • Air Baltic [8] has flights on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays between Umeå and Riga with a stopover in Vaasa.
  • City Airline [9] has two flights Monday to Friday and one flight on Sundays between Umeå and Göteborg. These flights are operated nonstop.

The flight time from Stockholm to Umeå is one hour. Prices with SAS or Malmö Aviation start at 450 SEK one way and 279 SEK with Norwegian. A ticket to Luleå and Östersund costs from 500 SEK one way and the flights take 40 minutes. Air Baltic charges from 39 € per flight and City Airline prices start at 399 SEK.

Umeå Airport [10] lies 4 kilometres east of the city center, on the edge of the city. Wifi is available at 80 SEK per hour. Transports to and from the airport include a special airport shuttle bus (40 SEK, goes to Vasaplan in the city center). Tickets can only be bought using credit/debit cards and your cellphone. The ticket includes a two hours transfer time within the city buses. Taxis operate fixed prices to destinations within the city and charge from 120 SEK and up.

By train

There is a daily direct night train service from Stockholm. It departs at 20:42 from Stockholm railway station and passes by Umeå at 06:30 before continuing on to Luleå where it arrives at 11:45. The opposite way, the train leaves Luleå at 16:35, passing by Umeå at 20:48 before arriving in Stockholm at 06:38 the following morning. The tickets from Stockholm to Umeå range from 245 SEK for a non-rebookable seat ticket if booked well in advance to 750 SEK if purchased the same day. A berth in a couchette will set you back some 420 SEK if booked well in advance and well over 1000 SEK if booked at last minute. A ticket from Umeå to Luleå costs around 320 SEK. Discount is applicable for youth under 26 years and students with a valid ISIC or national student card holding a SAS/SJ/SL symbol.

Umeå railway station is at the city centre. Note that the train may not run to Umeå on some Sundays, requiring you to take a bus from Vännäs (approximately 35 km away).

For train bookings you can use the Boka tåg website [11]

By bus

Bus routes are well developed in Umeå. It is the cheapest way to get around in Northern Sweden and a comfortable one as well. Don't be surprised if there is service onboard of the long distance routes or even free Wifi internet. Usually there are discounts for students and sometimes even a business class section (surcharge) with wider seats and simple meal included in the ticket price.

Linje 100 [12] has 6 busses a day on the Sundsvall - Örnsköldsvik - Umeå - Skellefteå - Luleå - Haparanda route departing Sundsvall at 10:00, 12:00, 14:00, 16:00, 18:00 and 20:00. The Sundsvall - Umeå or Umeå - Luleå segments cost 295 SEK each.

Ybuss [13] is a long distance bus company with 3 busses a day on the Stockholm - Umeå route departing Stockholm at 08:20, 12:40 and 20:40. The travel time is around 9 hours and the bus stops for a meal break half way. The tickets range is 330 - 415 SEK depending on if you have student discount.

Linje 31 [14] has 3 nonstop busses a day to Tärnaby with one bus continuing to Mo i Rana in Norway. This 5.5 hour ride stops in Lycksele and Storuman along the way. One way ticket is 242 SEK. Tärnaby is Västerbottens biggest ski resort [15] and lies on the border with Norway.

By boat

RG Line [16] runs ferries between Vaasa, Finland across the Gulf of Bothnia and Holmsund at the mouth of the Ume river. A oneway trip takes 4,5 hours. The time table changes frequently. The prices are fix and range from 450 SEK for students up to 600 SEK for adults. From Holmsund, take bus 123 or 124 (38 SEK) to Umeå. It is an easy 20 minute ride.

By car

649km (403 miles) north on E4 from Stockholm. Note that driving in Norrland can be dangerous, especially in winter. Collisions with moose are a common cause of road accidents. During the latest years the road administration of Sweden (Vägverket) have invested much in upgrading road safety, which includes wild-life barriers/fences along major roads. This is by no means a guarantee, but it reduces the risk of moose-collisions. Other upgrades include 3-lane roads, where one direction is provided with two lanes to allow for safe passing of other vehicles while the other direction only has one. This changes from one direction to another along the road, so within a reasonable distance, the direction you travel in will have 2 lanes. It is recommended to have experience of driving in snow and poor visibility when driving in the winter, as even major roads get snow covered during days with lots of snow falling, just as strong winds in some parts cause snow to drift onto the road surface. All in all, though, the roads are kept free from snow or with a minimal surface layer of snow and ice, but note that roads away from the coast usually are snow covered during the entire winter, not being salted but rather just plowed for vehicle traffic.

Get around

By bike

Umeå has a lot of students and bikes are common. The city offers a wide variety of bike-friendly roads and bike-only bridges. It is often both easier and faster to get around by bike rather than by car or bus. Bikes can be rented at Cykel & Mopedhandlaren (Kungsgatan 101, +46(0)90-140170) or Umeå Camping [17] If you plan on staying longer, buying a used bike is a good investment - with a bit of effort you can find a good used bike for as low as 400 SEK.

By bus

If you prefer to use public transport, the local bus system (run by Västerbottens Lokaltrafik [18]) has Vasaplan as its hub in central Umeå and costs 23 SEK per ride for adults, 17 SEK for youth below 26 and 12 SEK for children below 18 (including one hour of free transfer). Buses tend to be very infrequent in summertime and as a general rule it is advisable to check the timetable before getting to the bus stop during all seasons - waiting for 10 or 20 minutes in a bus stop at -20 C is a potential health risk. Night buses are available on Fridays and Saturdays. Tickets on the busses can no longer be paid with cash. All tickets have to be paid using credit/debit cards or using mobile phone.

See

  • Umeå Turist office, Renmarkstorget 15, 090-161616, [19]. Mon-fri 10.00-17.00. helps you with booking hotels, daytrips and provides information about Umeå and Västerbotten. (63.827090040,20.260924100)
  • Gammlia, Gammlia, 090-171801, [20]. Tue–Fri 10–16 Sat 12–16 Sun 12–17. Open-air cultural showcase, centered around the Västerbottens Museum. Exhibits focus on the region's history, with art exhibits and musical performances as well. Free. (N 63° 49.761,E 020° 17.361)
  • Umedalen Skulptur, Umedalen, [21]. Open park (24 h). Public park financed by Balticgruppen displaying sculptures. Both permanent and annual exhibitions. Free.
  • Umeå Rådhus. Lies in the middle of Umeå. Behind it (on the north side) lies Rådhustorget (City Hall Square), the heart of Umeå's central shopping district. Rådhusesplanaden leads you from the square to Järnvägstorget (The Rail Square), next to which lies the train station as well as the long-haul bus station. Off to the side of Rådhusesplanaden you will also pass Umeå Stadsbibliotek (Umeå City Library) and Vasaplan (the hub of local bus traffic). In front of the City Hall is Rådhusparken and down by the waterfront is Trädgård i Norr (Garden in the North), which is a small flower park.
  • Umeå Universitet, 090-7865000, [22]. Founded in 1965 and is Sweden's fifth oldest university. Foreign students are welcome to apply here [23].
  • Nydalasjön is a beautiful lake with public paths and barbeque spots all around it. Popular for bathing in the summer. The Nydala camping site [24] is situated at the northern end of the lake and also has a pool that is open during the summer months.
  • Vänortsparken is a small park in central Umeå, next to Umeå Stadskyrka [25]. The park contains art related to each of Umeå's sister cities around the world.

Do

  • Umeå International Film Festival, [26]. Annual film festival, usually held in mid-September.
  • Umeå Jazz Festival, [27]. Annual jazz festival, usually held in October.
  • Norrlandsoperan, NorrlandsOperan, 090-154300, [28]. The city has an opera house, and a famous opera company. Besides opera, the building hosts a large number of other events.
  • SF cinema, Östra Rådhusgatan 2 D, 090-137200, [29]. The main cinema in the city centre mostly showing hollywood blockbusters and swedish film.
  • Umeå Open, Umeå Folkets Hus, 090-126180, [30]. Annual popular music festival during three days in mid March attracting thousands of visitors. This is the biggest music event in Umeå. Most of the artists and bands are of Swedish origin.
  • Megazone, Östra Rådhusgatan 8B, 090-130777, [31]. Adventure centre on Rådhustorget in central Umeå. Here anyone can get his dose of action in the 600 m^2 large area for Laserdome, Phazerzone as well as 26 Fort Boyard style cells with various problem solving tasks. This wonderful place also holds an arcade game centre and a large pool and snooker hall. On top of this, there is a reasonably prized grill.
  • Brännbollsyran, Campus Area. Last weekend every May, Umeå changes it shape into a celebration of the upcoming summer break. Brännbollsyran is an unofficial world cup in the Swedish game of brännboll spread out all over the city. Anyone can join and over 1000 teams of 8-11 competitors so do. If you have plans to compete, IKSU Sportcentre [32] is the place to register your team. The final games are held on the university campus on Sunday. This Thursday-Sunday event has grown into a festival with virtually every part of the city helding some kind of event. Nordic Rock [33] arranges an annual Friday-Saturday hard rock music event at Hamnmagasinet in downtown during Brännbollsyran.
  • House of Metal, Vasaplan, 090-156200, [34]. House of Metal is a two day indoor festival concentrating on rock and metal in different forms. It has three main stages and two cover band stages, with approximately 25 bands from Sweden and all over the world performing. In 2010 the festival is held 5-6 mars. 360 kr one day pass, 625 kr two day pass.

Sports

Being the city in Sweden with the youngest average age population, Umeå has a long tradition in sporting events. Although the local teams success in the Swedish leagues has faded, for the sport-bitten there is a variety of spectator friendly events to watch.

  • Björklöven [35] is the local ice hockey team playing in Division 1 (Third Division). The season ranges typically September - March. Tickets cost 60-100 SEK depending on visibility.
  • Umeå IK [36] is among the top women football teams i Europe. Regularly playing in the Champions league, this is your best opportunity to watch good womens football team in Sweden. Tickets cost around 100 kr for most games.
  • IBK Dalen [37] floorball team plays steadily in Superligan, the highest league. Home games are played in Gammliahallen and prices 40-65 kr.
  • IKSU Sport centre [38] is one of the largest sport and leisure centres in Scandinavia. There is a large gym, beachvolleyball, squash, swimming pool, martial arts centre, spa and a lot more. Located at the campus area close to the university, this is an incredibly popular workout spot for locals.

Learn

With 27,000 students, Umeå is Sweden’s fifth largest university city.

  • Umeå University (UmU), [39]. Faculties include Humanities, Medical, Teacher Education, Science and technology, Social Sciences, Fine Arts, Restaurant and Culinary Arts, Institute of Design, Business and Economics, Environment, Physical Education and Sports and Technology.
  • Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), [40]. Forestry, Agriculture, Landscape planning and Garden science, plus the School of Environmental Studies.

Work

Work is quite hard to find in the city, even for locals. The biggest employers are the University, the Hospital and Volvo (which has a factory in the outskirts). Knowledge of Swedish as well as a work permit (not needed for Nordic or EU citizens) are essential in order to get a job at either.

Students (especially foreign/exchange students) will find it even harder to get a job, but have a chance at the pubs, student papers and at the Student Union. Additionally, a French or Spanish native speaker might just get a temporary job as a teaching assistant.

Buy

Most shops are located downtown (along Kungsgatan and Storgatan), in a fairly small area. Each neighborhood will have a small shopping center, with one or two supermarkets (ICA or Konsum/coop) and a few kiosks and fast food outlets. Two large shopping centers and hypermarkets are located at the outskirts - one, Strömpilen (with a shopping gallery, an electronics hypermarket and an ICA hypermarket), at the end of Sofiehem and the other one (with a Willy's supermarket, and a Coop supermarket) in Ersboda.

Eat

Budget

  • Fantastisk Grill, Umeå University. Cheap kebab and hamburger meals for the students at the university. ca. 40 SEK.
  • Rådhusgrillen, Rådhustorget. "Rull"-kebab and -pizza, a local specialty. ca. 35 SEK.

Mid-range

  • Droskan, Storgatan 60, Öst på stan, 090-135588, [41]. Lunch restaurant with "husmanskost" (Swedish food). 75 SEK.
  • Frasses, Rådhustorget 1, 090-121285, [42]. Hamburger chain, try the garlic dip that only the Umeå franchises have. ca. 50-70 SEK.
  • MAX, Kungsgatan 63, Rådhustorget, 090-120070, [43]. Popular Swedish hamburger chain. ca. 50-70 SEK. (N 63º 49' 32.53,E 20º 15' 52.20)
  • Mias Grill, Järnvägstorget, 090-133050. Hamburgers with generous portions of french fries. ca. 50-70 SEK.
  • Älvans Pizzeria, Älvans väg 246,Tomtebo, 090-196965. A small pizzeria with the best kebabpizza around. 40-70 SEK.
  • Maxim, Kungsgatan 47, 090-138283. Relaxed bar and pizza/grill in the city center. 60-100 SEK.
  • Gandhi, Rådhusesplanaden 17 B, 090-12 50 75, [44]. Indian restaurant. 100-150 SEK.
  • Great Eastern, Magasinsgatan 17, 090–138838, [45]. Chinese restaurant. 90-150 SEK.
  • Sea Street Sushi Bar, Renmarkstorget 6, 090 - 13 52 10, [46]. Japanese sushi bar. 50-140 SEK.
  • Amphigas Thai, Vallmovägen 71, 090 - 13 71 08, [47]. Thai restaurant. 50-125 SEK.

Splurge

  • Restaurang Viktor, Vasagatan 11, 090-711115, [48]. Tue-Sat 18:00-23:00. Award winning restaurant. This is the best deal if you feel like you want to treat yourself with an inspiring dinner. 300 SEK and up.
  • Rex Bar & Grill, Rådhuset, 090-706050, [49]. Upscale restaurant. 200 SEK and up.
  • Invito, Renmarkstorget 6, 090-14 53 60, [50]. Upscale Italian restaurant. 165 SEK and up for main course.

Drink

Nightlife is relatively good. Clubs and pubs are located either on campus or in a cluster downtown. The campus clubs are either student-only (admittance based on student-card) or offer entry fees discounts, whereas downtown clubs and pubs usually have a higher age limit for admittance. All pubs and nightclubs close at 2 AM on weekends and usually at 1 AM on weekdays. Admittance ranges between 25 and 100 SEK for a regular night (100 and up for concerts etc.).


On campus pubs:

  • Corona, Johan Bures Väg 8-10, 090-7869032, [51]. A two-story, two-dance floors club located on campus. Minimum age is 20 (18 for students). Usually the top choice of the students of Umeå university as it can take over 1000 people when full. Corona is located on campus, in the back of the Universum building. 50-100 kr entry fee.
  • Krogen Krogen, Ålidhems Centrum, 090-713300, [52]. Recently refurbished, this classic night club in the heart of the student district of Ålidhem has regained some of its former glory. Popular among international students, Krogen Krogen offers stand up comedy (Tuesday) and karaoke (Thursday) as well as night club on Fridays and Saturdays. 50-70 SEK entry fee.
  • NH (Nationernas hus), Johan Bures väg 8-10, 090-774099, [53]. Right next door to its rival Corona, this cosy little student pub is a breath of fresh air compared to its usually crowded neighbour. Recently refurbished it offers a huge choice of bottled beers. Admittance strictly for students possesing valid ISIC or national student card only. Club on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and a tremendously popular late afternoon pub (EPP) on Fridays. 30 SEK entry fee.
  • E-Puben, Universum, 090-7867679, [54]. This recently renovated student pub is located straight on the campus. Driven by the Business and Economics students, this pub gets crowded on Fridays and Saturdays. You will need a valid ISIC or national student card to gain entrance here. 30 SEK entry fee.
  • Kårhuset Origo, Barrskogsgränd, 090-7869299, [55]. A student pub/club close to IKSU sport centre. Open Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Shows big sport events on two projector screens. Club on Fridays and Saturdays with the occasional concert with local bands every month or so. 30 SEK entry fee.
  • Kårhuset Villan, Klintvägen 55, 090-135135, [56]. Another student pub, belonging to the Medicine Students' Union, located next to the hospital. 30 SEK entry fee.

Downtown:

  • Club 5ive/Cover Club, Västra Norrlandsgatan 8, 090-132380, [57]. A very popular and large club located in the heart of dowtown. Mostly playing mainstream popular music on its largest dance floor but there is also a hard rock section and two karaoke clubs. Minimum age is 18 (except on Saturdays, when it is 21). 100 SEK entry fee, 50 SEK if student.
  • Rex Bar & Grill Umeå, Rådhustorget, 090-706050, [58]. An upscale nightclub and restaurant located in the City Hall building. Usually open only on Fridays, Saturdays. 3 bars, 2 dance floors, minimum age 21 on Fridays and 27 on Saturdays. A popular summer hang out due to its outdoor serving area. 100 SEK entry fee.
  • O'Learys Bar and Restaurant, Västra Norrlandsgatan 5, 090-135830, [59]. The local franchise of a nation-wide sports bar dedicated to the NHL team Boston Bruins. A perfect spot if you want to enjoy a well done burger and watch your favourite football team on one of the 30 plus widescreen tv's. Minimum age limit is 19 to 21 years. 100 SEK entry fee, 50 SEK for students.
  • Scharinska Villan, Storgatan 65, 070-3414365, [60]. The best club in town when it comes to music events. Extremely popular among alternative music crowd. Houses in a huge heritage villa close to Döbelns park in downtown.
  • Pipes of Scotland, Norrlandsgatan 17, 090-134100, [61]. A laid back scottish style pub with a wide sortiment of draught and bottled stouts, porters and ales. A great place for a afterwork beer and some buffet style food. Popular on weekends by people who aren't into clubbing. Free entrance.
  • Teatercaféet (TC), Vasaplan, 090-156321, [62]. This two story bar and restaurant is located close by the public library in central Umeå. It has a large outdoor sitting area during summer but the indoor part gets easily crowded, especially during weekends. TC represents a modern white decor bar and nightclub and is popular among house music fans. 80 SEK entry fee.
  • Allstars, Kungsgatan 50 A, 090145200, [63]. Another sportsbar in addition to O'Learys. This place turns to a club on weekend and offers a typical pub menu with burgers and barbecued chicken wings. 100 SEK.


Additionally, a number of events, such as Klubb Pingvin [64] occur on a regular basis, with a traditional venue being the Plaza, Universum (on campus) or Norrlands Operan (the Opera House).

Sleep

Camping

  • First Camp Umeå, Nydalasjön 2, 90654, Umeå, 090702600, [65]. Cottages and camping. Close to university, only fifteen minutes by bike to city centre. Wireless internet connection available. Popular among students and workers all year around, families during the summer. Outdoor pool area closeby.

Budget

  • Umeå Vandrarhem, Västra Esplanaden 10, 090771650, [66]. Youth hostel in the downtown area. Dorm bunks, singles and doubles available. Discount with IYHF or STF card. Linen towels and breakfast excluded. 160 SEK and up.
  • YMCA hostel, Järnvägsallén 20, 090-185700, [67]. Hostel popular among school groups. Dorm bunks, singles and doubles with/without shower available. Extra charge for linen, breakfast and internet usage. 170 SEK and up.
  • Hotell Gamla Fängelset (Old Prison Hotel), Storgatan 62, 090-10 03 80, [68]. An old prison converted to a hostel. 10 minute walk to city center, 20 minute walk to campus. 380 SEK single.

Mid-range

  • Best Western Hotel Botnia, Norra Obbolavägen 125, 090135490, [69]. Located near the airport some 3km from the city center, but provides free car transportation to and from locations within the city; also bicycles. Originally the "Flyghotellet" or "Aviation Hotel", its decor is entirely aircraft-related. 490 SEK and up.
  • Hotell Pilen, Pilgatan 5, 090-141460, [70]. Hotell Pilen is located just a stone's throw from the Umeå River, in the central, but quiet part of town known as "Öst på Stan". The hotel is one of the oldest in Umeå, dating back to early 20th century. 650 SEK and up.

Splurge

  • Hotel Aveny, Rådhusesplanaden 14, 090-134100, [71]. A business hotel located in the heart of down town. The rates include breakfest, gym and wifi. 790 SEK and up.
  • Scandic Plaza Umeå, Storgatan 40, 090-2056300, [72]. Four star hotel located in the highest building in Umeå. Right in the middle of downtown. 720 SEK and up.

Contact

  • The centrally-located library (Umeå Stadsbibliotek) has internet PCs for public use (10 minute limit).
  • YEEZ, Kungsgatan 48, Umeå, 090-778777 is an internet cafe and gaming zone in the downtown area. It is located on the top floor of Hemmakväll movie letting store.
  • Umeå Tourist Centre [73] is open all year round, and is situated at Renmarkstorget in the centre of Umeå. 090-161616,

Stay safe

Most parts of Umeå are very safe, there is no reason to be worried walking around those areas at night. However, there are more dangerous parts of Umeå that one should not visit at night. Ersboda might be an unsafe area in Umeå, but Ålidhöjd can also be a dangerous place. Östra Kyrkogatan [ÖK], even though it is a big street that is pretty central can be dangerous at night, especially at the ÖK/Parkvägen intersection.

Get out

  • Arboretum Norr - Approximately 10 km upstream the Ume river from the city center, Umeå universitet, Sveriges Lantbruksuniversitet and Umeå kommun has laid out an arboretum [74] with trees from places all over the world found on the same latitude. The best way to get there is by bike, following the Ume river. The scenery can be stunningly beautiful, especially in the fall.
  • Norrbyskär [75] - Norrbyskär is an island group with a fascinating history, located in the archipelago of Västerbotten some 40 kilometers south of Umeå. This is a popular hang out place for families and kids, especially in the summer months. There is a museum (40 SEK), a hotel, a kiosk, a church and a YMCA camp. A ferry with many trips each day during the summer will take you to the island from Norrbyn.
  • Lycksele [76] - Some 126 km northwest of Umeå lies the scenically beautiful town of Lycksele. If you are heading to Mo i Rana or the skiresort of Tärnaby/Hemavan you might consider a lunch break here. There is a forestry museum (50 SEK) [77] and a ZOO (95-135 SEK) [78].
  • Rafting in Vindel river [79] - The town of Vindeln located some 55 km northwest of Umeå is a perfect day excursion spot. Rafting trips in the Vindel river is a very rewarding experience during nice summer days. A half day rafting trip with tea/coffee and a nice sandwich will set you back some 450 SEK and there are longer excursion up to 2 days as well. It is also possible to rent a hot tub and just chill out with a beer.
  • Skiing in Vindel fjäll, Buberget [80] - If you happen to be in Umeå during winter, the nearest skiing resort is also in Vindeln. It has got one ski-lift and 5 slopes to ride down. Well worth a day excursion if you want to get out of the city. 120 SEK for a day. There are regular ski-buses departing from Umeå to Buberget in winter.


Routes through Umeå
StockholmÖrnsköldsvik  W noframe E  SkellefteåHaparanda


This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!





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