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On to Cusco

Ashley and I awake at 6:45 AM for our flight to Cusco. I can't believe how packed the Lima airport is. Good thing we got there early! Fortunately, LAN Airlines impresses once again, and we move through the line quickly and efficiently. After checking in and going through security, we pay the domestic flight tax (20 soles) and move on to the gate. We arrive in Cusco and are picked up by a driver who is holding a sign with our names on it. We takes us to the Taypikala Hotel, which is about a 5-10 minutes walk from the Plaza Del Armas. It's off the main street and quieter than other hotels on the main drag. I'm surprised by how dry and deforested the country is. There really aren't any trees at all. We covered some pretty serious distance on the flight and the entire countryside between Lima and Cusco is denuded of trees, whether from aridity or human influence, I never found out. We met the rest of our group for the walking tour of the city and headed out to Sacsayhuaman, a walled complex outside of Cusco. We spent the afternoon exploring various ruin complexes with our guide and group. I wish we had had more time in Cusco. I think I could have spent a week there. After our tour, we freshened up and went out to dinner with Vidal, our guide. He took us to A Mi Manera, an intimate reservation-only restaurant downtown. The ambiance was perfect. I was glad we had another night in Cusco at the end of our trip, so that we could eat here again! Viva Cusco!

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