Early one Saturday morning I took a cab from my hotel in Viña del Mar to Pablo Neruda’s second house La Sebastiana fundacionneruda.org, at the top of the steep hill of Cerro Bellavista (Goodview Hill).
I presume you could get there by public transport followed by a walk up the hill but only if you’re seriously fit. Even though I’m from a hilly city myself and like a bit of exercise, I wouldn’t have enjoyed walking all the way up here.
I was hoping to beat the queues for this popular tourist spot by arriving as soon as it opened, but there was already plenty of people there. I had to wait for about ten minutes to enter the house as only a few people are allowed in at any one time. Fortunately we had a nice view to look at while we were waiting (video here).
Just as at La Chascona, Neruda’s first house back in Santiago (my post here), photographs are not allowed. I managed one of the ceiling in the entrance hall before the security shut me down. It’s a shame as there are lots of interesting artworks and knicknacks to see, but I guess they want you to buy books and postcards.
So is it worth going? Only if you’re a major Neruda fan I’d say (I’m not), and you don’t mind it being busy.
The best thing about coming up here is all the street art you can see on the way down. Nearly every surface has been painted on. The first is my favourite.
Please click on the photos in the gallery to get a better view.
About halfway down you come to an area with mosaic-covered lamposts. The murals here are part of the Museo a Cielo Abierto (Open Air Museum). The oldest were created between 1969 and 1973 by students from the Universidad Católica’s Instituto de Arte.
Again, click to expand…
The main road Héctor Calvo becomes a series of alleys and staircases as you get to the lower levels. You can do the walk virtually yourself on Streetview. Starting from outside La Sebastiana, just stick to Héctor Calvo and keep going down the hill.
The walk ends at grungy Herbas Buenas street, just off Avenida Ecuador.
If you’re ready for lunch, there’s a couple of interesting places to eat around Avenida Ecuador…