Lima feels like a city that is just now awakening after a long sleep. Rehabilitation and redevelopment are underway everywhere. We passed dilapidated buildings, buildings undergoing repair, and buildings fully restored to the remembered glory of past ages. There were a few vacant, weed-filled plazas, but many more were immaculately maintained and filled with flowers, sculpture, fountains, and people. I could see busy shops and businesses and, while the city never looked crowded, the streets and plazas were active with people going about the business of daily life.
(Last Updated On: August 4, 2015)
First a confession: I LIKE Lima.Most of the tour books and guided tours seem to view this teaming metropolis of 8 million as a necessary evil – the easiest place to begin a tour the “real” Peru. (Indeed, I suspect the only reason we had a day there was because flights to Cusco go out too early in the morning to make a same-day connection.) This attitude is unfortunate.
Yes, Lima is a huge, sprawling, polluted mess of a city, its colonial heart in a state of only recently (and only slightly) arrested decay and its poverty-stricken shanty towns teeming with the desperately poor from across the Peruvian countryside. However, Lima is also a fascinating mix of people and cultures, elaborate and sometimes elegant architecture both new and old, lovely plazas, leafy green neighborhoods, cheerful flower gardens, bustling wealthy neighborhoods, fine restaurants, amazing museums, a gorgeous dramatic coastline, and a history that predates the arrival of the Spanish. . . and that is without considering the gorgeous plazas that are at the heart of the typical tourist itinerary. It is a fascinating place.