Talking about Pablo Neruda is, unequivocally, talking about the sea. As many other poets and writers, the Chilean author maintained a sensual, emotional and of constant inspiration relationship with its seafood muse, that tore at his pen authentic works of art.
The passions of Neruda were many: political activism, women, letters, sea shells… Yes, the Nobel Prize in literature felt such fondness by the seashells, that he came to collect more than 9,000 samples, many of them from the beaches in Varadero.Cuba was another great passion of the Chilean poet. He came to Varadero at the beginning of the 1940s, it is said that by invitation of another of the geniuses of the Hispanic letters, the Cuban Nicolás Guillén.
At the shores of this incipient Varadero paradise, the author of ‘20 Love poems and a song of dispair’, walked evenings and sunrises, collecting winkles which, since 1954, belong to the University of Chile by donation from the artist.
That illustrious tourist walked hours and hours with his boxes shirt, winter shoes and an esparto grass basket as a briefcase or lobster, where he saved the shells that flattered him.
Apart from the permanent collection, the University of Chile organizes travelling exhibitions in which the curious fan of Malacology can come up with some really interesting pieces that belonged to Pablo Neruda. Among them are the one signed by his friend Rafael Alberti, the one gifted by the Communist leader Mao Tse Tung and, of course, some of the ones collected at Varadero beaches.
Creative Commons or Public Domain Image: Flickr/yanickbedard