A postcard from La Sebastiana, Valparaiso

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I love looking inside people’s houses. Peeping through cracks in curtains or looking in every room when I’m invited into someone’s home – I just can’t help it. I love looking at how space is used and how it shapes the behaviors of the inhabitants. I love to see what someone’s living space tells you about them.

So when I found myself outside La Sebastiana, home of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, I didn’t hesitate in visiting. It didn’t matter that I’d never read any of his work, or that I only knew him from his appearance in Il Postino. I wanted to see the colour of his wallpaper, the layout of his kitchen and how much natural light there was in his living room.

I saw all this and more. I saw his eclectic collection of fine art and kitsch. I felt the extension of space created by the wide windows which took up the whole side of the house, looking out over the city below. I navigated the odd-shaped spaces of stairs, tiny corridors and split-level rooms. I smiled at the holes in the bathroom door, the sailors’ bar of alcohol and the old carousel horse with gaudy colours and flared nostrils.

Visitors’ info: La Sebastiana

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