A Chile Winter: La Sebastiana

Photo-blogging Chile with Maria Barragan-Santana. Watch for more of Maria’s photos as the summer (or winter, as it may be) goes on! Updates Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

In 1959, Pablo Neruda asked his friends to find a house for him in Valparaíso, requesting that it should not be located too high or too low, be solitary but not in excess, with neighbors (hopefully invisible), neither too big nor too small, far from everything but close to transportation — quite a simple list!

The second of Neruda’s three houses, La Sebastiana, in Valparaíso, satisfied his aspirations. It’s architecture and plenitude of curved windows highlight the panoramic view of the harbor and reveal Neruda’s love of the sea. As I wandered through the house, I was intrigued by the way Neruda decorated each room with hundreds of objects that he had collected during his travels (sadly, no photography is allowed inside the house — it was so hard to resist!). I also particularly enjoyed how with each additional story ascended one was rewarded with an even more breathtaking view of the ocean. It’s no wonder Neruda wanted a little house by the sea!