Wednesday, 27 March 2013

The Hemingway Trail

Hotel Ambos Mundo

There are times when I have to put up with a single size hotel room and want to scream. But…. looking around at Room 511 at the bed in the alcove and typewriter on a desk in the centre of the room I am amazed.

Ernest Hemingway and his wife lived in this room? The guide told us that friends also visited. All I could think was that they either sat on the bed or on the floor. It may be a corner room but how small it is.

Where is Room 511? At the Hotel Ambos Mundo in Havana, Cuba.

Hemingway stayed here in 1932 and again in 1933 where he made it his home until his wife Marta Gellhorn (they married in 1939) decided she couldn't live there and found the farmhouse where they subsequently lived.

Hanging in a small cupboard are some of Hemingway's clothes and on the walls are displayed photos of him with various famous friends. And, as already mentioned, his typewriter is on a small desk in the middle of the room.

Not far from the hotel is one of his favourite bars, La Bodeguito del Medio. In this small space it was standing room only and I bet Hemingway wouldn't have recognized it.

The Hemingway Trail usually includes a visit to the farmhouse at San Francisco de Paula which his wife persuaded him to buy. Unfortunately, for me, it had been raining quite heavily for a couple of days so there was no chance of going there. Presumably because the narrow road was impassible. (I was told that you can only look into the rooms from the outside - as it is a three storey structure do they provide ladders?)

Among the books that Hemingway wrote whilst living in Cuba are The Old Man and the Sea and For Whom the Bell Tolls.