Isla Negra: Pablo Neruda’s home on the sea
If you’ve never read any of Pablo Neruda‘s poetry, stop reading this blog right now and go out and find some. He’s an amazing poet, and his works are incredibly beautiful (and I’m not a huge poetry fan…)
Isla Negra was Neruda’s favorite home, and sits on the coast just west of Santiago. He lived there from 1939 until his death in 1973, although there were long times when he traveled abroad or was forced to live in exile.
Neruda and his third wife are buried on the property, overlooking the ocean. It’s just about the most perfect resting place that I can imagine.
Neruda had a life-long fascination with ships and trains (something Alex and I can appreciate!); he built his home to reflect a ship, and there is a train engine in the central courtyard. Everything about the house focuses attention on the sea – from the large windows to the decor.
He was an avid collector, from ship figureheads to shells to maps and ships in bottles. Apparently he found the act of collecting to be inspiring – he surrounded himself with beautiful things that gave him ideas for his poems.
The weather was gorgeous on the day we visited, and the sea was sparkling in the sunshine. I can easily understand why Neruda chose to live and write here, even in a time when it wasn’t so easy to jump on the freeway and travel to the coast. For the first years of his residency, it was just a tiny cabin, accessible only by horseback! But the isolation and the ocean are surely part of why it’s such an amazing location.