I’ve read some Ernest Hemingway over the years. Some, but not enough.
I say that because I’ve unintentionally become something of a Hemingway stalker; it seems that everywhere I travel these days I find myself in a bar that was once frequented by the writer.
The process began many years ago on a trip to Paris with my ex-wife, and continued on my first visit to Venice. I’ve blogged before about Harry’s New York Bar and Harry’s bar each of which was frequented by Hemingway. Did he have some fixation about the name? Not quite. The common factor isn’t the name but the commodity on sale.
I extended my collection of Hemingway Haunts last December with Locanda Cipriani, a small inn on Torcello in the Venetian Lagoon but then I came to Havana. There are probably dozens of drinking establishments here that could claim him as a former customer; he came to Cuba in 1939 to escape his second wife and became a resident of one of the hotels in Havana Vieja, plenty of opportunity to discover new watering holes.
There are a couple of particularly notorious spots. He reportedly wrote
on the wall of the former, and consequently now the tiny bar has become a tourist trap where visitors queue to add their own graffiti and fight their way inside for the mint based cocktail. (This piece of art parodying The Scream tells its own story!) I declined to follow them, but I did enjoy the second of his recommendations.
It was nice to see the man was still enjoying life there.