La Sebastiana - Pablo Neruda's Valparaiso House
Don and Lois Porter

Way up on Bellavista Hill stands "La Sebastiana", the house that Pablo Neruda built in Valparaiso. Someone else had started building there but given up (unfinished buildings are not uncommon in Latin America). Pablo loved the place and saw possibilities. He persuaded some friends to collaborate in the purchase: they occupied the bottom two floors, and he had the top 3 floors. He created a marvelous house, compact but comfortable. Lots of stairs and small rooms -- modelled on shipbuilding (Neruda's love for all things maritime is famous). On another day we went back for one of the free Saturday cultural programs -- including a Rapa Nui dance (that's Easter Island) and arts and crafts from various indigenous Chilean groups. There was also a literary panel, highlighted by some song-and-storytelling.

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