YO construí la casa. / La hice primero de aire. / Luego subí en el aire la bandera / y la dejé colgada del firmamento, de la estrella, de / la claridad y de la oscuridad.
… starts telling Pablo Neruda in the poem he dedicates to his house in Valparaíso. The story of the house tells that Neruda had many and specific requirements when he asked some friends to find him a house which would let him be able to rest of the tiredness of Santiago. His friends found the perfect place, which was build by some Sebastian, so when the writer met the house and decided to keep it, he baptized “La Sebastiana” (female form of Sebastian).
Things like these we learned after we visited the house-museum when we were with Diego in Chile. We spent a few days between Santiago, Viña del Mar and Valparaíso. We found out that there were 3 houses of the poet, and all very interesting visits: the one in Santiago, we only saw on the outside; the one in Isla Negra, which we’ll see in some future trip; and the one in Valparaiso, in which affortunately we got in.
You don’t need to be some fan of Neruda’s works, or poetry, or anything like that, to really enjoy this house. It’s not very outstanding on the outside, but on the inside is very unique and peculiar. It’s entertaining, interesting, with history, colors and lovely sea sights.
Pablo Neruda was a collector… of any thing! He decorated the house with his particular style, and it really showed up. Each wall or piece of furniture of the four floors requires time to be appreciated, and to really look all the things on it. Everything was so full of stuff, in a bizarre and fun mix, that in the whole looked great. The audio guide helps to understand the style and the whys, so the visit is very interesting, and fun. One of the most important wishes he had, was being able to admire the bay, and he could: from the upper floors he had beautiful views of the port, the beach and the colorful houses of Valparaíso.
While walking in the center of Valparaíso, if you pay attention, in the border of the sidewalks you can see written “La sebastiana” and an arrow pointing the way to it. That and a map helps the way through the irregular streets of Valparaiso.