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Armenia & Georgia Tour, 15 days

The beginning of this tour is the Armenian capital Yerevan. The city combines stately Soviet buildings with old narrow streets. From this city we visit Echmiadzin, the Roman temple in Garni and the monastery in Geghard. During the tour there are also visits to the spectacular Amberd fort, the cave city Vardzia and the Haghpat monastery on the planning.  In the distance you can see Ararat, the holy mountain of the Armenians, known as the mountain where Noah 's Ark would have run aground. In Georgia we travel to Tbilisi and the impressive Caucasus. The history, culture and way of life of the Georgians is linked to wine making. We can taste delicious wines in one of the many restaurants in Tbilisi and in the cozy accommodation in the mountains.

Join active, international groups with travelers from Holland and Belgium. You will find almost all have a superb command of English. Our guide addresses the group in Dutch and English.

Itinerary

  1. Jerevan
  2. Jerevan, excursie Garni en Geghard Cloister
  3. Jerevan - excursion to Fort Amberd - Ashtarak - Echmiadzin
  4. Jerevan - Khor Virap - Noravank - Goris
  5. Goris - Tatev Cloister - Selimpas - Sevan Lake
  6. Sevan Lake - Dilijan - Alaverdi
  7. Alaverdi - Sanahin - Haghpat - Tbilisi
  8. Tbilisi - Mtskheta - Gergetikerk - Gudauri
  9. Gudauri - Gori - Uplistsitsje - Kutaisi
  10. Kutaisi - Gelati - Bakuriani
  11. Bakuriani, excursion to Vardzia
  12. Bakuriani - Tiblisi
  13. Tbilisi - David Gareja - Signagi
  14. Signagi - Kagetie - Tbilisi
  15. Tbilisi

Day by day

Yerevan
Day 1. Arrive Yerevan (check-in to hotel)
Day 2. Yerevan (Participants from Holland arrive early A.M.) - Program begins morning
Day 3. Yerevan, excursion Garni and Geghard Monastery
Day 4. Yerevan, excursion to Fort Amberd and Echmiadzin

The travelers arriving from the Netherlands will not arrive until early in the A.M. on Day 2. You may check in on Day 1, however. You can meet up with the tour leader and group members in the morning, at the Welcome Meeting before starting the activities for the day.


Although Yerevan is nearly three thousand years old, the central square, Hanrapetutyan and the broad leafy boulevards are flanked by modern buildings and stately buildings from the Soviet. . 20th-century architecture mixes with houses from earlier centuries Nearby in the narrow streets of the old city with sometimes you will still find the traditional wooden houses. A visit to the covered market in Yerevan gives a nice impression of daily life.

 
In Matenadaran, the national art and culture museum, you will find the world's largest collection of Armenian manuscripts. The Museum for the Armenian Genocide describes the persecutions of the Ottoman army against the Armenians from around 1915. Yerevan still exudes the martial Soviet image for the Motherland of Armenia. From a large portion of the country you can see the snow-capped peak of the Ararat a mountain sacred to the Armenians, which with its location on Turkish territory, aptly illustrates the division of their tribal land.
The next day we make a day trip from the Armenian capital and visit a Roman temple in Garni. In a remote area on a rock plateau, this temple, dating back from the 1st century, is almost intact. The Corinthian columns and reliefs have stood the test of time well. A few centuries later, the royal family used the temple as a summer residence.


A little further on in the ever-shrinking valley, lies the partially cloaked Geghard monastery with outstanding reliefs. According to tradition, the spear that pierced Jesus was kept here. In the evening there is an opportunity to experience a wonderful folklore show in a theater in Yerevan.


On the program for the next day is a visit to Amberd Fort, spectacularly situated at the intersection of the Amberd and Arkashen rivers. The fort lies on the flanks of Mount Aragats and we enjoy the beautiful views along the way. Sometimes we stop for a shepherd and his crossing sheep herd. We also visit the main church of the country in one of the oldest and most pleasant places in Armenia: Echmiadzin. For centuries the rituals of the Armenian church have been performed here. The Armenians call it the oldest church in the Christian world, even though there have been many renovations and restorations. Along the way we have a fantastic view of both mountains of Armenia: the Ararat and the Aragats. In the middle of the landscape we suddenly pass the 36 letters of the Armenian alphabet designed in 405 A.D.


Sevan Lake
Day 5. Yerevan - Khor Virap - Noravank - Goris
Day 6. Goris - Tatev Monastery - Selim - Sevan Lake
Day 7. Sevan Lake - Dilijan - Alaverdi
In the south, the wilderness and desolation of the landscape increases with high, bare mountains and narrow green valleys along fast flowing rivers. In the morning we drive close to the Turkish border which is a "No Go Area". In the distance is the Ararat, the holy mountain of the Armenians, known as the mountain where Noah 's Ark would have run aground. From a large part of the country you see the snow-capped peak of the mountain, which, with its location on Turkish territory, aptly illustrates the division of the Armenian tribe.

 
Then you see the church Khor Virap that lies in a wide valley. For many years it was used as a prison because of its remote location. We take the time to explore here. Further south we pass the village of Areni where wine is produced. Many Iranian truck drivers stop here for shopping. The Noravank monastery from the 13th century lies in an abandoned gorge next to a river in a beautiful colored landscape. After visiting the Noravank monastery we pass Zorat Karer, also known as the Armenian Stonehenge.


From Goris it is a few hours drive to the village of Tatev where in 2010, the longest cable car in the world was opened. This cable car goes to the beautiful ancient Tatev monastery, bringing visitors up in 11 minutes. On the Selimpas, where the Silk Road was in use, we stop at the well-preserved Selim Caravanserai dating from the 14th century. We spend the night at the high-altitude Sevan Lake with ice-cold, clear melting water.


In the morning we first stop at the Sevanavank monastery, which is located on a beautiful viewpoint near the lake. We continue our journey through the beautiful rolling valley that is surrounded by the mountains of the Little Caucasus. For those who are interested in history and medieval architecture, Old Dilijana offers a good insight into the daily life of yesteryear. Standing in the abandoned refectory of the small monastery Goshavank, the Middle Ages come to life. In the afternoon we can eat at a family home in Diljian. We drive towards the Georgian border and spend the night in the area of Alaverdi.


Georgia - High Caucasus
Day 8 Alaverdi - Sanahin - Haghpat - Tbilisi
Day 9 Tbilisi - Kazbegi - Gergeti Church - Gudauri
Day 10 Gudauri - Gori - Bakuriani

We continue our way through the deep gorge of the Debet River towards Georgia. Before we cross the border to Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, we first visit Haghpat. Here we visit Haghpat Monastery, the final resting place for several famous Armenian poets, historians and philosophers. The monastery has been placed on the World Heritage list because of its unique architecture. After the border crossing with Georgia at Sadakhlo, bus and driver changes.


We drive for a while over the historic 'Georgian Military Highway' towards the north. Before we spend the night in Gudauri we go to Kazbegi in the rugged mountains. From Kazbegi we have a beautiful view of the very photogenic Gergetikerk, with the more than 5050 meters high Kazbegi in the background. It is possible to make the strenuous walk upwards or to go up by vans. The monasteries were formerlly used as protection along this route, such as the beautifully situated Ananuri complex. The hospitality in the mountain area is amazingly generous, although you often have to communicate with your hands.


During the day from Gudauri to Bakuriani we pass Gori, the birthplace of the Russian leader Stalin. In this otherwise not so special village, you can visit the Stalin Museum. Uplistsikhe is an unusually medieval town carved out of the rocks by slaves in the 8th century. It is close to Gori and we make a short stop here. We drive to the mountain area at Bakuriani where we spend the night.


Vardzia and Mtskheta


Day 11 Bakuriani, excursion to Vardzia
Day 12 Bakuriani - Mtskheta - Tbilisi
Bakuriani was the first Georgian ski resort. Many Olympic skiers from the former Soviet Union came to train here. It is wonderfully quiet here and you can relax or take short walks here.


From Bakuriani we travel in the direction of Vardzia. The region derives its name from two Georgian tribes living here, the Meskh and the Javakhs. We first stop at the famous 10th-century Khertvisi fort, considered to be one of the oldest in the country. The cave town of Vardzia is one of Georgia's most famous sights. The place is inextricably linked to the first queen Tamar who ruled in the 12th century. In the carved rooms we can admire her on some well-preserved frescoes.
We leave Bakuriani behind and return to the capital Tbilisi. Before we enter the capital, we stop in Mtskheta. Mtskheta is the former capital of East Georgia and is believed to be the cradle of the Christian faith. This town has some very richly decorated churches. The Jvarikerk is beautifully situated on a cliff, with a beautiful view over the city. The buildings of Mtskheta were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1994.


Tbilisi
Day 13 Tbilisi, city tour
Day 14 Tbilisi, excursion David Gareja
Day 15 Tbilisi


Tbilisi is the bustling capital of Georgia. Here you can find traces of many periods in history. From churches, synagogues and mosques to typical Soviet architecture. Street life makes a Mediterranean impression, with many busy terraces and food stalls. Tbilisi has a very heterogeneous population with Azeris, Jews, Kurds and Armenians. Here too, on an incline, is an immense image of Mother Georgia from the Soviet period towers above the city.


Because of its location in a narrow valley along the river Mtkwari you have a nice view of the city from many sides, which is surrounded by green. On the river you will find the old town with many wooden houses, the Sioni Cathedral and an old caravanserai. In the new part of the city it is good to stay on the Rustaveli boulevard where the parliament and the opera house are located.

The monk cells of the Lavra Monastery are built against and in the mountains in David Gareja. This particularly impressive semi-desert area is located near the border of Azerbaijan. A walk of about 2 hours will take you to the caves of this monastery with frescoes further down the mountain.
 

Dates and prices

Departure dates 2019

Land Begins Land Ends Price Availability  
Sep-05-19
Guaranteed leave
Sep-19-19$2,2102 seatsbook now >
Sep-21-19Oct-05-19$2,3300 seats
Oct-05-19
Guaranteed leave
Oct-19-19$2,1508 seatsbook now >

Departure dates 2020

Land Begins Land Ends Price Availability  
Apr-11-20Apr-25-20$2,15022 seatsbook now >
Apr-25-20May-09-20$2,21018 seatsbook now >
May-07-20May-21-20$2,09022 seatsbook now >
May-14-20May-28-20$2,21022 seatsbook now >
Jun-11-20Jun-25-20$2,21022 seatsbook now >

Conditions "Guaranteed leave"

Price includes

 
• Dutch travel guide (speaks Dutch and English)
• Transport by comfortable bus
• Hotel stays with breakfast
• Rooms with private shower and toilet
• 3 dinners (1x Gudauri, 2x Bakuriani)
• Visit to Tatev monastery
• Overnight at the Sevan lake
• Visit to the eastern desert of Georgia: David Gareja

Price excludes

• International flights
• Airport transfer
• Travel insurance
• Other meals, not mentioned
• Entrance fees, 
• Optional excursion
• Personal expenses

You will find estimated out of pocket expenses noted in the prices section of this trip 

Cost Overview


$380 .  Single Room charge

$180 .       Out of pocket expenses weekly (estimate)
$40 .         Group tip pot per person (driver, porters...does not include tip for guide) 


Yerevan . - Extension hotel 
$110.00 .    Double Room 
$110.00 .    Single Room 

Tbilisis .     Extension hotel
$110.00 .   Double Room 
$110.00 .   Single Room 

Daily breakfasts, 3 lunches included 
 

Deposit: 20% of total costs due upon booking (Non-refundable)

Balance due 60 days prior to departure  (Please see Terms & Conditions on booking form for cancellation penalties, which increase, the closer cancellation comes to departure date. For this reason, we highly recommend travel insurance). 

Practical information

Accommodations & Meals

We spend the night in tourist class hotels in rooms with private shower and toilet. Some hotels have a typical authentic Russian appearance, while others are more modern. In the cities, the hotels are almost all within walking distance of the center. In Goris and Alaverdi we stay in small-scale rustic hotels that perfectly fit into the environment and offer good service.


Typical hotels (subject to change)

  • Yerevan Barsam Suites
  • Sevan lake Blue Sevan Resort Center
  • Goris Christy Hotel
  • Alaverdi Qefo Hotel
  • Tbilisi Astoria Hotel
  • Bakuriani Apollon Hotel
  • Gudauri Alpine Hut


Single Travelers - Single room
Individual travelers will be matched with other single travelers of the same sex. If you do not want to be classified with another group member, you can book a single room at the applicable supplement (see price section). If we cannot match you, there will be no additional charge for the single room.

Hotel extension
You can request an extension hotel night in Yerevan or in Tbilisi. In these cities you stay prior to or after the trip, in a centrally located tourist class hotel. You will find the costs in our price summary. The mentioned prices are without change costs of the flight and the transfer from / to the airport.

Meals
All breakfasts are included in the trip. In a number of hotels there is a breakfast buffet. You can also decide where you want to have lunch and eat in the evening. These days there are a variety of restaurants in the larger cities. In the smaller places the choice is limited. The tour guide can always advise you where the food is good.

Georgia and Armenia have a unique cuisines . Armenian cuisine is best compared with Turkish cuisine: there is often grilled meat here, supplemented with dolma (stuffed wine leaves), lovage (flatbread) and various fresh soups. A lot of yogurt is also eaten, for example at breakfast.

Georgian cuisine is best known for its complec stews, often with unique herbal mixtures. For example beef in a white sauce casserole, based on fennel seed, turmeric and parsley. It takes some getting used to, but it is very popular with many travelers.

In both countries many dumplings are served, often with the Georgian name 'khinkali' on the menu. These large noodles are filled with minced meat and broth, and the labels prescribe that they are eaten by hand. Cheese loaves are also sold in both countries: a tasty snack on the go!

In Georgia and Armenia we can taste the local wines with meals. Georgia has a wine history that goes back some 8000 years in time and is the oldest wine producing country in the world.

The large hotels and restaurants serve ordinary European dishes: soup, meat / fish with rice or potatoes. Yoghurt and salads are widely available. The dessert is usually limited to ice cream or yoghurt, at least tea and coffee.

The dinners are included in Gudauri and Bakuriani.

Flights & Transportation

 Land arrangement
You will be booking the LAND PORTION of this trip. You will need to secure your own flights from/to the U.S.

When Booking Your Flight
You will be joining Dutch and Belgian participants who will arrive together on a flight arriving from Amsterdam. You will meet the tour leader and participants at the first hotel, unless otherwise instructed.

Below are the scheduled flight arrival and departure times of the European participants. Times may vary depending on your departure date. Let us know your preferred trip date so we can let you know what days and time frame you should plan to arrive and depart.

The Dutch participants arrive on Day 1 at 3:35 AM Austrian Air Yerevan (Armenia)
You should schedule your flight to arrive at the same time or prior to the Dutch participants so that you will not miss the welcome meeting, the first transfer, or first activity.

The Dutch participants depart on final day at 5:05 AM Lufthansa Airlines Tbilisi (Georgia)
You may stay at the hotel until check-out time. If your flight departs at the same time as the Dutch participants, or shortly after, you are free to join them on the group bus to the airport at no additional charge. Otherwise, you will need to arrange your taxi transfer at the hotel.

Airport Transfer
Airport transfers are not included with the land programs. You can take taxi from the airport to the first hotel to meet the group and tour leader, who will be expecting you. Be sure check with the information desk at the airport to find out which are the authorized taxis and expected costs.

Meeting the Group
You will meet the Dutch and Belgian participants at the hotel. They will all fly into together from Amsterdam. Their flight times may vary, depending on your trip date. We will provide you with their intended flight times so you can schedule your own flights.


Local Transport
During the tour we travel with our own comfortable bus that is exchanged at the border. The buses are comfortable and have air conditioning and heating. We use minivans to the borders. On the way there is often a lot to see and because the bus is completely at our disposal, we stop wherever we want to stretch our legs, take a picture or visit a nice place or a market along the way.

Money Matters

On this trip you will encounter two different currencies. In Armenia you pay with the dram and in Georgia the lari. You can find conversion rates on oanda.com .

Although it you can use ATM’s in many places, it is advisable to also take some euros as pocket money. Credit cards can now also be used in a few places and paying with your debit card is becoming more and more common, such as in restaurants.

As a guide for weekly out of pocket expenses that are not included in the fare, such as meals, other entrance fees, optional excursions and personal expenses, a minimum of $150 person per week applies.

It is customary to give tips for services rendered. In order to prevent you from having to share tipping, a tip jar is set at the beginning of the trip from which the (joint) tips are paid to the drivers, guides, hotel staff, etc. The guideline for the tip jar for this trip is $30 per person. This does not include a tip for your tour leader. Tipping your tour leader is appreciated and the amount up to you. Typically, you may find that the Dutch participants tip much less than Americans.

Excursions

A Djoser trip is a combination of group activity and independence. While the guide will have a general plan each day, you are free to join the guide and other group members, or you may break off and explore or dine on your own. Admission fees are therefore not included in the fare, so you have the freedom to determine which things you wish to partake in and where and with whom you would like to dine. The guide will offer suggestions.

During this trip there are plenty of opportunities to visit monasteries, churches and forts. In addition, it is of course wonderful to walk into nature or simply stroll through one of the villages and make contact with the local population. In most cases you can go out on foot or with local transport, on your own, or with fellow travelers, with or without help from our tour guide.

There are some places of interest that should not be missed, or they are difficult to reach or are 'en route' to our next accommodation. The transport for such excursions are included in the program but the admission fee is not. These costs are calculated into your estimated out of pocket costs, found in the trip price summary.


During this trip through Armenia and Georgia, the following excursions are included in the itinerary:
• Guided city walk through Yerevan along the most beautiful and important places of the Armenian capital.
• Spectacular walk through a gorge to the pagan Garni temple and the Geghard monastery.
• Zorats Karar, the Armenian Stonehenge. This place is older than the much more famous English Stonehenge!
• Stop at the Armenian Alphabet, and at the ruins of Zvartnots (UNESCO)
• Walk to the Amberd fort, picturesque and perched at the foot of the highest mountain on Armenian territory, the Aragat. It is not for nothing that this is called the "fort in the clouds".
• Areni; this place is famous for its locally produced dry red wine. We have the opportunity to taste a glass of this wine. The wine from Areni is famous from the 5th century.
• Tatev monastery; the longest cable car in the world goes to this impressive and important monastery from the 9th century of Armenia. During the 11-minute ride you have a view of a spectacular gorge.
• Caravanserai of Selim; a caravanserai was used at the time of the Silk Road as a place to stay for traders.
• Mtskheta is the former capital of Georgia in the beginning of the era. Visit the many historic buildings!
• Travel over the famous Georgian Military Highway to Kazbegi
• Visit to the cave city of Vardzia. This monastery is still inhabited. Built against a rock wall, this city lies with its caves, holes and caverns.
• David Gareja, located in the Georgian desert. To reach this complex, a good climb must be made, but the view is breathtaking. You look out over Georgia and in depth lies Azerbaijan.

On the way our bus stops at a number of places, for which you only have to pay any entrance fees to enter: 
• The Stalin museum in Goris, the birthplace of this Russian ruler.
• By bus or on foot to the high-altitude Gergeti church with the imposing Kazbeg mountain, one of the highest peaks of the Caucasus, in the background.

More excursions can be arranged on the spot, for example a folklore show in Yerevan, a wine tasting, or a picnic on the way.

 

 

Travel Documents

• ARMENIA Passport – valid for 60 days beyond departure – No visa needed. 
• GEORGIA – valid for 60 days beyond departure – No visa needed.

Health Issues & Insurance

You should check with your travel provider regarding the most current shots and medicines needed for your destination. Typical recommendations are:

• ARMENIA – None 
• GEORGIA - DTP and Hepatitis A

Travel Insurance 
To avoid cancellation or flight change charges, do not book your flight until you get confirmation that the trip has reached the proper enrollment numbers for the trip to proceed. The required number is typically 10. You can track the enrollment on our website on the dates and prices page.

It is also important that you get traveler’s insurance. Please be aware that in the event of severe illness or injury, commercial airlines are unlikely to fly you. Emergency evacuations are extremely costly. You may choose the provider of your choice We advise you to take a small medical kit with remedy for bowel disorders and dehydration, band-aids, Neosporin, personal prescriptions.

We do plenty of walking on this trip. Many of the sights in both countries are beautiful and unique, but are often only accessible via a step staircase or a climb up. This means that this trip is not suitable for people who have limited mobility.

Group Composition

Our groups consist of singles and travelers traveling with partners. If you travel alone, you will certainly find a fast connection in our small groups. On average group size is 16 participants, the maximum is 22. We typically need a minimum of 10 for the trip to go.

You will be joining Dutch and Belgian travelers on this trip. There are never more than 4 North American in any group, and typically less.

Age Range
The age of travelers varies. Djoser trips attract active travelers. On a trip you may find travelers in their 20’s or 60’s. Djoser participants can expect plenty of walking and on many trips opportunities to hike in nature or to rent a bike to explore. Younger travelers, 12 or over, may accompany their adult family members on our trips.

We can provide you with more information about the group composition, upon request, (age range, sex, # of single travelers).

 

Tour Leaders & Support Staff


An enthusiastic Dutch travel companion guides the journey. Our tour leaders are very experienced and enthusiastic travelers and will relay interesting facts about the destination along the way. These are not lecture tours, however. They ensure that the trip runs smoothly and are the point of contact for questions and to help you realize your preferences. Their own passion for the region combined with extensive training and training procedure, form the basis for their expertise and professionalism.


The Djoser Style of Travel 


Who is Djoser? 
Djoser is a tour operator who offers unique itineraries and active, cultural travel throughout the world. Djoser began in 1985, in the Netherlands, where Djoser is a household name. Djoser, Inc. has been in operation in the United States since 1997, located on the outskirts of Philadelphia, in Paoli, PA. We work in cooperation with Djoser, BV in Holland. Because they accommodate the voracious travel appetites of the Dutch, we can bring you many hard to find itineraries and very reasonable prices. We have adapted their active style of travel and believe our international groups add to the cultural experience of your travels.

We have long enjoyed an A+ Better Business Bureau rating.


Our Philosophy - Freedom & Happiness – Rich Cultural Experiences 
What can you expect from a Djoser trip? Active explorations of the culture and nature of a region, trapesing through beautiful landscapes, exploring the remote nooks and crannies of a traditional market, perhaps sharing tea with a local. Our unique itineraries will expose you to many fascinating aspects of the region.

You can expect a diverse, international group, with most heralding from the Netherlands and Belgium (almost all have superb English skills), and there may be only one to four from North America. In a group you will find a mix of singles, and travelers with mates. Djoser active travelers come in all ages. These are mostly adults but children over 12 may accompany parents. Djoser travelers also enjoy the element of “freedom and happiness”. You will have the benefit of a tour leader who coordinates all logistics and organizes activities daily, but our travelers also take advantage of opportunities for independent explorations and dining. The tour leader is ready with suggestions for an extra excursion or fun place to dine.


CO2 Compensation
Traveling is enriching, but the transport that is needed to discover new destinations leaves its mark in the form of greenhouse gases, including CO2. Djoser has arranged a cooperation with the ANVR and collaboration with the South Pole Group, the world market leader in the implementation of CO2 reduction projects; Djoser supports a project in Thailand that generates electricity by installing solar panels to replace the burning of coal. With the CO2 Compensation we also help a local population. Djoser, Inc. donates $5 to this fund for each booking. By compensating for the CO2 emissions of the trip, the same amount of CO2 can be prevented elsewhere in the world.

Climate & Geography

 
Armenia and Georgia belong to the Caucasus countries. The Caucasus Mountains consist of the Greater Caucasus in the north and in the south the Little Caucasus. The Caucasus also possesses the highest peaks in Europe after the fall of the Iron Curtain. In both countries there is generally a continental climate, which due to the often high altitude does not lead to too high temperatures. The average temperatures in the summer months are between 77 - 86 ° F. In the spring and autumn you have to count on average temperatures of 68 ° F In the nights, of course, it cools down considerably.

Photos & video

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* Submit this form to begin your reservation process.  Confirm that names exactly as they appear on a current passports.  If names on your international, domestic flights or visas (if applicable) do not match your name as it appears on your passport, some countries will deny you entry.

TIP:  Also verify your name on your flight records, within 24 hours after reserving to avoid change or cancellation penalties.   

* Pay by personal check or credit card:  Visa, Mastercard, American Express

* Call us with your charge card information.  Your place will be reserved upon receipt of funds for required deposit.

* Refer to the Prices & Dates page for an overview of your total costs & deposit 


* Download the Booking Form with Terms and Conditions

* Fax for with signatures for all participants 18 and over to  484-595-9140 . Or scan to us at luke@djoserusa.com

* Or mail Djoser, Inc., 154 Woodgate Lane, Paoli, PA 19301 - Attn: Luke Neal


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