Situated on the foot of Cerro San Cristobal, in the Barrio Bellavista neighborhood, is La Chascona. La Chascona was one of the three homes of Pablo Neruda, the famous Chilean poet and politician, and is now a museum for the public. Like the other two homes of Pablo Neruda, La Chascona is decorated according to the poet’s unique taste and filled with the his favorite items. If you are a fan of Pablo Neruda’s or a traveler with the hunger for history and the love for unique collector’s items, then make sure to pay La Chascona a visit!
La Chascona and its uniqueness
Pablo Neruda’s love for the ocean basically became the true inspiration for La Chascona’s shape that is similar to a ship. One example is the dining room, which was built into the shape of a cabin in an old ship. There you will encounter a large dining table; the poet was known to love having company during his meals, not to mention dinner parties every now and then. There is also a secret doorway at the back of the dining room leading to the second floor; Pablo Neruda uses this door to surprise his dining companies who usually are already waiting at the table.
Inside the house, you will encounter unique items that reveal the poet’s taste such as a bar from a ship, ornaments from the poet’s favorite countries, and colorful drinking glass. Pablo Neruda said drinking water from colored drinking glass would make water taste better, which would explain the colored glasses arranged at the dining table. The poet was also a very social person and loved to have his friends around him, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to find a bar just beside the dining room and a summer lounge area in La Chascona.
The rebirth of La Chascona
Unfortunately, La Chascona’s history was not always filled with happiness. Just after the military coup had overthrown President Allende in 1973 and the death of Pablo Neruda, La Chascona became the target of an attack. The irrigation ditch where water used to flow was covered, so the stream overflowed and flooded the whole house. After finding out what had happened to the house, Matilde bravely came back to Santiago and, with the help from some friends, rebuild the house to keep and honor the house that she and the poet once shared.
Getting to La Chascona
Navigating your way towards La Chascona won’t be a difficult task since the area is quite famous among travelers who visit Santiago. Since La Chascona is located in Barrio Bellavista, the most recommended way to get there is by taking the metro to Baquedano Station. Once you have reached Baquedano, continue on foot towards Cerro San Cristobal, which would take around 10 to 15 minutes. The house is located in an alley heading upwards, but there are signs on the streets that will help you get there, so you won’t get lost.
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Note to self
Before visiting La Chascona, there are a few things to keep in mind such as the prices and the general rules. La Chascona has an entry fee of 5000 CLP (approximately 8 USD) for general visitors. However, if you are a student, be sure to bring your student credentials because they have a special price for students, which is 2000 CLP (approximately 3 USD). Upon the entrance to La Chascona, you will be given an audio guide along with its instruction so you can learn all about the poet and his house. It is not allowed to take pictures in La Chascona, but feel free to take pictures in the garden.
Come and visit La Chascona!
La Chascona, the house museum of Pablo Neruda, is one of the highlights in Santiago that is truly a must-see. Its unique architecture and interior design will make you feel like stepping into a dream, or more likely, stepping into the poet’s mind. You will be awed by every piece of item that the poet has in his house. So, come learn about Pablo Neruda and experience the home where the poet lived and created his work in Santiago with Matilde Urrutia.
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