La Casa de Pablo Neruda / Isla Negra

El Tabo Travel Blog

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We had a lovely day today.  Left fairly early to get our Pullman Bus to Isla Negra to see the last Neruda house on our list.  Pullman was more expensive than TurBus and we don´t think it was quite as good.  It left on time at 9.20am, but simply went around the corner and stopped for another 25 minutes - we ended up arriving half an hour late at Isla Negra.  Nearly got caught on the way home, too - the bus doesn´t actually turn around and go back the way it came, it does a big circle so we were waiting on the wrong side of the road.  Luckily the driver twigged that we were waiting for him, and stopped for us anyway.

The bus drops you off right at the street which goes down to the beach and Neruda´s house, which is handy.  The whole area is very nice, lots of trees and very nice houses, this is obviously a popular summer getaway for Chileans.  The house itself is right on the beach, slightly up the hill, so would have been a quick stroll to the water for Pablo and Matilde.  Pablo started the house in 1939, and it was never completely finished before he died as he would build a section at a time, probably when finances allowed.  It follows his usual theme of ships, so many of the rooms have curved ceilings and lots of wood and shipboard items on display.  This house also contains his ship figurehead collection, and these are dotted about all over the place.  The older part of the house has huge windows in which sit many of the coloured glass bottles Neruda collected, and from which you get a spectacular view out to the ocean.  The newer sections have smaller windows, more like a painting on the wall.  Luckily, this house was never looted during the dictatorship so pretty well all of the contents are actually original.  Our guide, Doris, is originally from the USA and obviously had a real love for Neruda and his life.  One chap we saw working at the house lived in the area as a child and would come and play with Pablo.  Apparently Pablo wanted to adopt him (Neruda´s only child died at 8 years old) but the boy´s grandmother would not allow it - what a pity!

Just outside the house, an enterprising local chocolate maker had set up a small stall with her wares.  Of course, we couldn´t resist, so snacked on these on the bus on the way home - very nice, we must say!

We went back to La Monera on the way home, because Greenpeace set up a giant inflatable whale as a protest at the Japanese whaling fleet and we wanted to see it.  Apparently, it seems it might have been harpooned during the night, because it was lying in a very big and flat heap on the ground.  Hopefully they´ll re-do it, because it looked pretty good on the news.

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