The symbol of La Chascona which runs throughout the whole building. The picture is not a sun, but rather an impression of Matilde and her messy hair. La Chascona is a term of endearment for someone with wild locks.
Had a bit of a Sunday sleep-in today, then made our way over to La Chascona in Bella Vista. This was the house Pablo Neruda built for himself and his secret mistress at the time, Matilde, who later became his wife. The house flows over many levels and is in separate sections, and was built to remind them of the time they spent in Capri before people knew they were together. Unfortunately, the house was ransacked during the dictatorship, but has been very well restored and re-furnished by the Neruda Foundation. This house also follows very much Neruda´s passion for ships, and many of the fittings and furnishings actually come from old ships, including the bar in the dining room and a lovely old wooded spiral staircase going from the ´secret´room behind the dining room to the guest bedrooms upstairs.
Living room of La Chascona.
The library has a copy of Neruda´s Nobel Prize for Literature certificate and a replica of the medal. Also of note are the many impressive paintings given to him by his friends, such as Diego Rivera and Leger - there are actually two Leger works here. The garden is lovely, and very peaceful in such a busy city. Not much view to the moutains these days, though, due to pollution and construction since the house was built. Tours of the house are by compulsory guide, and our guide Rogerio was very good - his English was good and his knowledge of Neruda and the house impressive. The tours cost CP3,500 so not cheap, but at the same time, very worthwhile. One lady on our tour is updating the Lonely Planet guide for Chile, so we had a good chat with her about the current edition!
We wandered back down Pio Nono to head over towards the Belles Artes Museum, via empanadas for lunch and a quick visit to the Emporio La Rosa ice-cream shop, which was recommended to us by the man from Sernatur a couple of weeks ago.
Mural on a wall outside La Chascona.
The ice-cream was very rich, but the flavours not particularly noticeable. All in all, we prefer our cheaper ones from Bravissimo! On Sundays, the Belles Artes Museum is by donation, so you can put in whatever you like instead of the normal CP600. There was some interesting artwork here, a few Dali´s and a couple of Picasso´s and a big section for Chilean artists. Wouldn´t have said the collection was exceptional, but we enjoyed what we saw. Outside the Musuem, in the park, there was a huge second hand goods market - it seems that people bring the stuff they want to sell, put out a mat and see what happens. Mostly clothes, but also some food, CD´s, and a bit of home-made jewellery.
The power was off for most of the day for maintenance work at home, so we bought the paper and sat in our lounge for the rest of the afternoon/evening - nice and relaxing way to end an enjoyable day.