Filed under Chile
30 December 2011
During my the first day in Valparaiso, I did a half day trip to Isla Negra, located at only 45 km from the city. This was the place chosen by Pablo Neruda to isolate himself from the busy city, from 1939 until his death in 1973. This place was formerly called Las Gaviotas but Neruda changed its name for Isla Negra, due to the color of its rocks and its isolated location. Here, Neruda had only the company of the sea.
“the pacific ocean came out of the map. There was no place to put it on. It was so big, wild and blue that couldn’t be contained in any place. That is why they left it in front of my window” (Pablo Neruda)
The guided visit of the house was very interesting. Neruda was a great collector and his house is full of bizarre items, most of them related to the sea. Any of the objects shown has a story behind. He loved especially the figure heads that adorned the prow of ancient ships. He always said they were their secret lovers and he was happy his wife never noticed it.
In Isla Negra Don Pablo wrote “Odas Elementales”, a collection of poems dedicated to simple things, on a desktop brought to him by the sea.
After visiting the house the guided tour ended with a visit to Neruda’s tomb, which is outside on the beach and facing the immense ocean. His late wife is also buried with him.
“Companions, bury me in Isla Negra, / in front of the sea I know, to each wrinkled area of stones/ and to the waves that my lost eyes/ won’t go back to see…” (Pablo Neruda)
Well actually my visit finished with a super lunch based on fish and white wine by the sea, at the restaurant adjacent to the house, “The corner of the poet”. Here you can taste the congrio frito a las finas hierbas (fried conger with fine herbs), using Neruda’s special recipe. I preferred to taste the local fish with Garcia Lorca sauce 😉
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