Hemingway’s steps in Havana

A big part of Ernest Hemingway’s history saturates Cuba. In the city of Havana, he has presence almost everywhere.

The famous novelist who made Havana his main home from the early 1930s often frequented numerous bars and restaurants that have become almost holy place for Cubans as well as countless tourists. Hemingway’s favourite watering holes in Havana were Dos HermanosLa Bodeguita del Medio and El Floridita. All of them still stand today more bustling than ever thanks to the American author.

Ernest Hemingway with his 4th wife Mary, Spencer Tracy and others at El Floridita, Havana

Ernest Hemingway with his 4th wife Mary, Spencer Tracy and others at El Floridita, Havana

10-minute walking from El Floridita, one can reach the edge of Plaza de Armas where the fully renovated Ambos Mundo Hotel stands. It is a charming building of eclectic style where Hemingway used to stay before he bought Finca la Vigía, his permanent home in Havana.

In his frequent room number 511, Hemingway was inspired to write his famous novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls. At the present time, the room is conserved as a museum where some dozen items are exhibited. There is a bed of mahogany, an armchair and his Rémington typewriter among others objects. For a two-dollar fee visitors can view the Room 511, preserved ‘just as it was’ when he stayed there in the 1930s.

Ernest Hemingway chatting with Fidel Castro in 1960, Havana

Ernest Hemingway chatting with Fidel Castro in 1960, Havana

With the money he made from this novel For Whom the Bell Tolls, he bought Finca la Vigía, located in the small town of San Francisco de Paula. This was Hemingway’s home from mid 1939 to 1960. Here he wrote The Old Man and the Sea and loved a number of the many women in his life. The beautiful estate was donated to the country by the journalist Mary Welsh, Hemingway’s fourth wife. The house, which was restored by the Cuban government, reopened in 2007 and has become a tourist shrine.

Last stop on Hemingway’s trail in Havana should be Cojimar, a picturesque fishing village few minutes east of the city. Here is the port where Hemingway often went on fishing trips on El Pilar, and where he was inspired to write his aforementioned novel, The Old Man and The Sea.

Hemingway in Havana Harbor after catching a marlin in 1934

Hemingway in Havana Harbor after catching a marlin in 1934

Follow the steps of one of the most influential writers of the 20th century in the city of Havana. For me, it was sheer pleasure to walk the streets and visit the places where Hemingway once trod. If you also want to follow Hemingway’s steps in Pamplona, check out this blog post.

 

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