Cristina Luisa
An hour and a half south of Valparaiso, in the region of El Quisco, is Neruda’s most famous house. After naming it “Isla Negra”, the entire town became known as such, and has over the years developed as a haven for other writers and artists. It is a very small region, and people usually visit for the sole purpose of seeing Neruda’s house. I was no exception. Set upon the beach, Isla Negra is an elaborately decorated, ship-themed home. Pablo Neruda and his wife, Matilde Urrutia, are both buried on the grounds. It was here that I learned that, although the poet was obsessed with the ocean and naval structures, he was deathly afraid of the water and never set foot on a ship. An intriguing paradox, for sure. The expanse of the structure is open for viewing, and contains the majority of Neruda’s belongings, including a plethora of knickknacks. It seems that Isla Negra was a place where Pablo Neruda could indulge in his boyish obsessions, meditate on the waves crashing against the black rock, and create some of his most renowned poetry.