Monday, July 18, 2016

Museo La Chascona (Pablo Neruda's House) - Santiago Chile

We love going to famous people's houses.  It makes us feel so important and hip.  Ok, so in every case it has been houses of famous people who are no longer living and we have had to pay to go in, but we like to pretend we are special and have been personally invited.

On our trip to Santiago we were able to visit Pablo Neruda's house.  Pablo was a famous Chilean poet who won the the Nobel Prize in Literature 1971 and a political figure who supported President Allende.

If you read my post about the Museum of Memory and Human Rights then you know that President Allende was overthrown through a US-backed coup by a man named Pinochet on September 11, 1973.  Pablo died on September 23, 1973.

Pablo's death has some mystery surrounding it.  He was sick with cancer and died only 12 days after Pinochet took over power in Chile.  The official cause of death was recorded as cancer, but in 2011 an official inquiry was launched. Now it is believed that someone came in his hospital room and gave him an injection in his stomach.  Six and half hours later Pablo passed away.  It isn't like Pinochet and his army were the good guys so I believe Pablo was indeed murdered through poisoning!

Ok, so back to the house.  Pablo called his house in Santiago, La Chascona.  

Sign of Museo La Chascona Santiago Chile

He also had a houses in Valparaiso and Isla Negra both in Chile.  All three of his houses are museums now and can be toured.

Pablo built the house in Santiago for his secret lover Matilde Urrutia, who eventually became his third wife.  She had wild curly red hair and so the house was named la chascona which means roughly "messy hair" in Chilean slang.

He had ironwork specifically made for this house.  This piece has his initial and Matilde's initial along with waves of water.

Ironwork Initials at Museo La Chascona Santiago Chile

The house is situated on a hill and when Pablo and Matilde were looking for a house they walked by this property and heard the water running down the hill and the sound of the water help them fall in love with the place.  

I couldn't take pictures inside any of the buildings.  I know you are asking, "But I thought you went to his house, why are you talking about buildings?"

Doesn't it freak you out when I read your mind like that??

As it turns out there were several buildings connected with stairs or bridges.  In the buildings there may be a living room, a guest room, the kitchen, or a library.  It was really neat but would have been a pain in the rear to live there.  Any bad weather and going to the bathroom becomes a miserable experience and really makes you question that second cup of coffee!

Since I couldn't take any pictures inside, let me share some more outside ones.

I wish I had paintings on my house.  That would be nice, but then I would have to go outside to see them and it is too hot for too many months in Texas for that mess!  The sun would bleach them out in no time!

Painting at Museo La Chascona Santiago Chile

I love door knockers, especially ones that are unique!

Hand Door Knocker at Museo La Chascona Santiago Chile

Plus, anything lion themed is cool.

Lion Door Knocker at Museo La Chascona Santiago Chile

Pablo knew that when it rained the water flowed down the hill at certain places.  He put up this custom made retaining wall to create a waterfall right on his own property.   After all the falling water is what made them love this property so much to begin with.

Pebbled Retaining Wall at Museo La Chascona Santiago Chile

I really wish I could have taken more pictures inside.  There were some very interesting artifacts I would have liked to share.  

But I will leave you with this.  These eyes were hanging in several locations throughout the property, both inside and out.  I am glad they had some outside because I really liked it.  There was no explanation for them but I am sure they meant something to Pablo and Matilde and that is all that really matters since it was their house.

Eye Decoration at Museo La Chascona Santiago Chile

I am definitely glad we went to this museum, but unless I was just really into Pablo Neruda or interesting house structures, I don't think I would visit a second time.  I did learn something so that is always worth a visit!

In my next post I will tell you about a day trip we took to the coastal town of Valparaiso. I hope you will come back and read all about it!

Until then!