The Houses Of Pablo Neruda

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“Poetry came in search of me.” Pablo Neruda

The Chilean Nobel Laureate poet Pablo Neruda may be one of the greatest poets in the Spanish language. His poetry is hard to translate and there is only a small amount in English. It is difficult for me and also for many Chileans to disassociate his words from his intense political views and/or personal failings.


He wrote exquisite poems about love and human nature. Neruda has three houses—one on San Cristobal Hill in Santiago, another in Valparaiso and the third is in Isla Negra. I visited two of them. To decorate his houses he has scoured antique shops and junkyards for all kinds of objects. He has many collections. Each object reminds him of an anecdote. You can not photograph inside.

Riding the funicular to the top of Parque Metropolitano is the classic tourist activity in Santiago.

When we got to the bottom again, it deposited us a block away from La Chascona, the house the poet bought in 1951 for his then-secret lover, Matilde Urrutia.

La Chascona (the name refers to the wild tangle of Matilde’s hair, a recurring element in his poems) is a house filled with objects – not for their value or beauty, but as an expression of the person who assembled them. It was destroyed in a military coup after his death and has been rebuilt and restored. For a Communist, he is quite the shopper.


Isla Negra (Black Island) is neither black nor an island. It is an elegant beach resort forty kilometers south of Valparaíso. No one knows where the name comes from; Neruda speculates about black rocks vaguely shaped like an island which he sees from his terrace.

Thirty years ago, long before Isla Negra became fashionable, Neruda bought—with the royalties from his books—six thousand square meters of beachfront, which included a tiny stone house at the top of a steep slope.

“Then the house started growing, like the people, like the trees.” His collections of bottles, nautical things and odd objects grew as well.


l love these collections and I love this house with its magic light and expansive views.


It is at Isla Negra where Pablo Neruda and his third wife, Matilde have established their most permanent residence.


His most iconic works were written here. It is where he was happiest entertaining a constant stream of visitors with Chilean wine and food. The names of his dead friends are carved in the beam above the bar so he can always have a drink with them. There are seventeen names.

When he died, which was during the Pinochet reign of terror,  Neruda was given a pauper’s grave. Chile didn’t officially embrace its most famous writer until democracy was restored in 1990. Then he and Matilda were buried outside facing the sea according to his wishes.

“Bury me at Isla Negra, in front of the sea I know, in front of every wrinkled place, of rocks and waves that my lost eyes, will never see again.”

Fly safe,
JAZ

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Ten Things To Do In Chile

Ten Things To Do In Chile

“Latin America is very fond of the word “hope.” We like to be called the “continent of hope.” Candidates for deputy, senator, president, call themselves “candidates of hope.” This hope is really something like a promise of heaven, an IOU whose payment is always being put off. It is put off until the next legislative campaign, until next year, until the next century.”  Pablo Neruda

Eat at Borago. which is one of the top Michelin starred restaurants in the world.

See the street art that defines Valparaiso.

Visit the homes of Pablo Neruda.

See the Museum of Memory and Human Rights commemorating those who suffered under the Pinochet regime.

Visit Chiloe Island and hope it isn’t raining,

Visit the art museums and galleries of Santiago.

Eat Chilean empanadas (different from Argentinian ones). Drink Pisco Sours.(like Peruvian Pisco Sours). Have Chilean hot dogs (different from American ones.)

Have a ski day in the Andes Mountains.

See Castro which is famous for its colored wooden houses built on stilts. I love colored houses.

Spend a day visiting Chilean wineries and Vino Del Mar. 

Fly Safe,

JAZ

Some Quotes From Around the World

Some Quotes From Around The World

“The problem with quotes on the internet is that you never know if they are genuine.” Joseph Stalin

I have collected quotes all my life – way before the internet. I had a compilation of napkins, theatre programs, index cards, ripped pieces of papers from newspapers and magazines, hotel stationery, loose-leaf paper, memo pads, notebooks and colored bits of paper – all filled with quotes I had read or heard somewhere. The internet makes it way too easy. I read a book or see a play I like and I look up quotes from the author. I pick a subject I’m interested in and find hundreds of quotes about it. I have a lot more knowledge now but every once in a while I find a folded up piece of paper in an old pair of pants or purse with a quote that touched me when I heard it.

I thought I would share some of my favorites from around the world –  especially for those of you who are not on my quote list. I hope you enjoy them. They are special to me.

“AMERICA

A bit of advice

Given to a young Native American

At the time of his initiation:

As you go the way of life,

You will see a great chasm. Jump.

It is not as wide as you think.” Joseph Campbell

AUSTRIA

“Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are

princesses who are only waiting to see us act just once, with beauty and

courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence,

something helpless that needs our love.” Rainer Maria  Rilke

CHILE

“Laughter is the language of the soul.” Pablo Neruda

CHINA

“Once upon a time a man whose ax was missing suspected his neighbor’s son. The boy walked like a thief, looked like a thief, and spoke like a thief. But the next day, the man found his ax while digging in the valley and the next time he saw his neighbor’s son, he walked like a child, looked like a child, and spoke like a child.” Lao Tzu

COLOMBIA

“It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.” Gabriel Garcia Marquez

CZECH REPUBLIC

“The salvation of this human world lies nowhere else than in the human heart, in the human power to reflect, in human meekness and human responsibility.” Vaclav Havel

ENGLAND

“You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” CS Lewis

FRANCE

“Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.“ Albert Camus

GERMANY

“But now, for the first time, I see you are a man like me. I thought of your hand-grenades, of your bayonet, of your rifle; now I see your wife and your face and our fellowship. Forgive me, comrade. We always see it too late. Why do they never tell us that you are poor devils like us, that your mothers are just as anxious as ours, and that we have the same fear of death, and the same dying and the same agony–Forgive me, comrade; how could you be my enemy?” Erich Maria Remarque

INDIA

“You may never know what results come of your actions, but if you do nothing, there will be no results.” Mahatma Gandhi

IRAN

‘One day the sun admitted I am just a shadow.

I wish I could show you the infinite incandescence

that has cast my brilliant image.

I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness

the outstanding light of your own being,” Hafiz

IRELAND

“Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy.” W. B. Yeats

ISRAEL

“Once I sat on the steps by a gate at David’s Tower in Jerusalem. I placed my two heavy baskets at my side. A group of tourists was standing around their guide and I became their target marker. “You see that man with the baskets? Just right of his head, there’s an arch from the Roman period. Just right of his head.”  I said to myself: redemption will come only if their guide tells them, “You see that arch from the Roman period? It’s not important: but next to it, left and down a bit, there sits a man who’s bought fruit and vegetables for his family.” Yehudah Amichal

ITALY

“There are three classes of people. Those who see. Those who see when shown. Those who do not see.” Leonardo Da Vinci

 JAPAN

“My barn having burned to the ground, I can now see the moon.” Masahide

NETHERLANDS

“Conscience is a man’s compass.” Vincent Van Gogh

RUSSIA

“How can you expect a man who’s warm to understand one who’s cold?’  Alexander Solzhenitsyn

SOUTH AFRICA

“As I walked out the door toward my freedom, I knew that if I did not leave all the anger, hatred and bitterness behind, that I would still be in prison”. Nelson Mandela

SPAIN

“Traveler, there is no path. The path is made by walking.

Traveller, the path is your tracks and nothing more.

By walking you make a path and turning, you look back

At a way you will never tread again.

Traveler, there is no road, only walks in the sea.” Antonio Machado

TIBET

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” – Dalai Lama

TURKEY

“On a day when the wind is perfect,

the sail just needs to open and the world is full of beauty.

Today is such a day.” Rumi

VIET NAM

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” Thich Nhat Hanh

Fly safe,

JAZ