Hemingway, The Old Man and The Sea – part 1

Photographer: BarbeeAnne via Pixabay

LIFE. Ernest Hemingway presence in La Havana, Cuba, is irrefutable for any wanderer. In La Bodeguita del Medio you can drink mojitos (rum with mint and sugar) that Hemingway would drink. In El Floridita, the tourist should drink a “Daiquiri”, the drink Hemingway liked. Moreover, I’m aware nowadays there is a special Hemingway drink: a considerable measure of rum, a finger of Toronja juice, a half green lemon squeezed, stirred and served very cold.


While you drink the special, you can watch on the wall some photographs of the writer with the actors Errol Flynn and Spencer Tracy. The places where Hemingway drank, ate or slept are a tourist station. For example, Hemingway stayed from 1932 to 1939 in room 511 in La Havana Vieja in the Ambos Mundos Hotel. That room is a museum.

The cultural visitor, looking for something else than a spot on the beach where to put his towel, will also go to the Hemingway museum in the Vigia Ranch 15 kilometres away from La Havana, in the neighbourhood of San Francisco de Paula. Hemingway bought the estate in 1940 and shared it with her 4th wife, Mary Welsh, his 4 dogs and with his 57 cats. Hemingway’s museum is in the same condition he left in 1960. Includes, apart from the descendants from the cats, 9000 books, 500 vinyl records, personal belongings, hunting trophies and his famous yacht “El Pilar”.

In 1932 a hurricane left the Hemingway’s yacht isolated. Gregorio Fuentes, a fisher born in The Canary Islands, rescued him. In 1936, he asked him to get in charge of his yacht and become his fishing guide. During 2nd world war, German submarines operated in the Cuba keys with the mission to torpedo down American merchant ships, which carried raw material to make armament in the United States. Hemingway and Gregorio Fuentes painted the yacht in black, then armed it with a machine gun and sailed away to hunt submarines. In the yacht, among others, was a radio operator from the North American embassy. From the El Pilar, they warned the American air force when they spotted a submarine.

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Finally, the visitor will take a short trip to Cojimar, sailors’ village, 15 kilometres away from La Havana, the pier where they left El Pilar. Here the writer met fishers that used to fish with bottles of water, sugar and cookies, they would venture to the sea to fish with lines, and barehanded, some fish more significant than their boats. Gregorio Fuentes and Ernest Hemingway would sit in the bar La Terraza to observe the sea and drink mojitos.



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