Pablo Neruda is Chile’s second Nobel laureate in literature. This is a view from his bedroom and office windows in his house in Valparaiso (1 of his 3 houses in Chile). Neruda had a habit of naming his furniture as well as his houses. This one’s called La Sebastiana. He described it as a “toy house” in a city that is “secretive, sinuous, winding”, “twitches like a wounded whale” and where “eccentric lives” played out as an “inseparable part of the heart-breaking life of the port”. Neruda dedicated a poem to this house and claimed that it gave him a unique perspective into the city, that the privileged view allowed him to see things others couldn’t. For example, he used to tell his friends that everyday at 9pm sharp in the blue house by the green one (don’t remember the actual description) a beautiful woman showed up in her bedroom, completely naked. No matter how hard his friends tried to find the house with the woman nobody ever did.
I was genuinely impressed with Valparaiso and was left with something I did not expect to find, likely because I knew nothing about the city in the first place. Neruda wrote “If we walk up and down Valparaiso’s stairs we will have made a trip around the world.”, though the times have changed there are little subtleties around the city that make it hard to disagree with him. But more on that later….