I, like many other travellers, had heard bad things about Lima. But I really enjoyed it. Perhaps because I was expecting the worst — and it turned out to be far more beautiful and enjoyable.
The old colonial heart of Lima is as stunning as it is chaotic in parts. It was far cleaner and better kept than Quito's, and felt much safer. Strolling its plumb-straight streets you find the mandatory Plaza de Armas, statues of murderous conquistadors, ridiculous-looking presidential guards, pigeons, poverty, a street with over a dozen opticians all next to each other, grime, ornate wooden balconies, terrible pollution from buses which swarm up the streets like spawning salmon, gilt churches, blood-congealed depictions of Christ, beautiful old mansions and some great museums. The stuff of a great two days' exploration.