Stretched between the Andes and blue Pacific, Chile is a country of soaring contrasts. From the faded elegance and history of Santiago to Valparaiso's candy colours and shipping-container corrugated metal; from the salt plains of the Atacama Desert to the lush vineyards of Vina Del Mar and astonishing beauty of Patagonia -- at times, it seems as though "it is all here".
For us, Chile was, first and foremost, the birthplace and home of Pablo Neruda -- the land of "kisses and volcanos"-- the country that (eventually) loved its poet, whose poet loved it.
No trip to Chile would for us be complete without making a pilgrimage to Neruda's Santiago, Valparaiso and country homes; so, making the pilgrimage to La Chascona, La Sebastiana and Isla Negra we went. And, though Neruda's homes, more than most, reflect the peculiarities and eccentricities of their owner, they also contain much that reflects Chile itself -- unique treasures, contrasting settings, shapes and styles, and a peaceful, eternal reference to and reflection of the sea.
Neruda famously said that "poetry came in search of him"; recognizing the poetry in these places, with Isla Nedra his favourite, he said: “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.”
Here's to having poetry come in search of us; and, whether that be the case, or not, to find it -- in ourselves, in the people we love, and in our cherished corners of this beautiful world.