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article imageOp-Ed: Remembering Ernest Hemingway at ‘Ambos Mundos’ Hotel in Havana Special

By Igor I. Solar     Nov 1, 2013 in Travel
Havana - The Hotel “Ambos Mundos” (Both Worlds) located on Bishop’s Street in Old Havana is known for its “Mojito” cocktails, but mainly for having been during seven years the residence in Cuba of Ernest Hemingway, 1954 Nobel Prize for Literature.
The life and works of 1954 Nobel laureate Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961), author of The Old Man and the Sea, are closely linked to Cuba. His first visit to Havana took place on April 1928 when he and his second wife, Pauline Pfeiffer, came to Cuba aboard the British steamship “Orita”. At the time, Ernest was 28 years old; he had served as a correspondent in Europe and had recently published his novel The Sun Also Rises (1926). The success achieved with this book made him known as one of the leading writers of his time. In this occasion, Hemingway’s visit to the Cuban capital lasted only 48 hours.
Apparently, that visit to the island left a lasting impression on young Ernest. Since 1932 Hemingway made frequent trips to Cuba. His outings in Cuban waters on his fishing yacht Pilar became customary, and Hemingway became friends with many Cubans. He stayed for seven years (1932-1939) at the Hotel “Ambos Mundos” in Old Havana located at the corner of “Calle del Obispo” (Bishop’s Street) and “Mercaderes ” (Merchant’s Street); he often walked along Bishop’s Street, and became a regular customer of the famous “Floridita” bar.
Hotel Ambos Mundos at the corner of Calle del Obispo and Mercaderes in Old Havana  Cuba.
Hotel Ambos Mundos at the corner of Calle del Obispo and Mercaderes in Old Havana, Cuba.
Hotel Ambos Mundos at the corner of Calle del Obispo and Mercaderes  in Old Havana  Cuba.
Hotel Ambos Mundos at the corner of Calle del Obispo and Mercaderes, in Old Havana, Cuba.
Entrance to the  Ambos Mundos  Hotel in Havana  Cuba  where Ernest Hemingway lived in Room 511  for ...
Entrance to the "Ambos Mundos" Hotel in Havana, Cuba, where Ernest Hemingway lived in Room 511, for almost seven years
The story goes that Hemingway occupied room 511 at the “Ambos Mundos” paying a rate of $1.50 per night. From the window of his room on the fifth floor of the hotel he enjoyed an excellent view of the bay and the colonial buildings of Old Havana. Here he wrote the first manuscript of his novel For Whom the Bell Tolls, which he completed in Sun Valley, Idaho, and published in 1940.
Calle del Obispo in Old Havana  Cuba. Ernest Hemingway walked this street nearly everyday on his way...
Calle del Obispo in Old Havana, Cuba. Ernest Hemingway walked this street nearly everyday on his way to the "Floridita" Bar where he used to have his favourite Mojito cocktails.
Mercaderes Street is a pretty  narrow cobblestone-paved street in Old Havana. This view was captured...
Mercaderes Street is a pretty, narrow cobblestone-paved street in Old Havana. This view was captured from the corner of the Ambos Mundos Hotel.
While in Cuba, in 1940 he bought the farmstead "Finca Vigía" (Lookout Farm) and according to Jeffrey Meyers, one of his biographers, he became very fond of cats coming to own several dozen of them. At the hilltop house of Finca Vigía, among royal palms, flower and vegetable gardens, several fighting roosters, four dogs, 57 cats and a collection of about 9,000 books, Hemingway produced some of his best works. Today, Finca Vigía houses the Ernest Hemingway Museum.
In total, including extended stays in the decades of the 40s and 50s, Ernest Hemingway lived 22 years in Havana where he created many of his most important works: For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940), Across the River and into the Trees (1950), The Old Man and the Sea (1952), and Islands in the Stream (1970, posthumous ).
Ernest Hemingway in his fishing boat Pilar  off the coast of Cuba.
Ernest Hemingway in his fishing boat Pilar, off the coast of Cuba.
Unknown (JFK Library)
As a journalist, Hemingway worked for Canadian and American newspapers reporting on the Greek War of Independence (1921-1932), the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), and the two World Wars. His experiences in these historical events, his expeditions through the jungles of Africa, where he was almost fatally injured in two successive plane crashes, his passion for fishing in the waters of the Caribbean, and its intimate links with Cuba, are present in many of his books, articles and news reports.
After the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959, Hemingway stated publicly his allegiance to the revolutionary cause. In May 1960, he met Fidel Castro who presented him with an award at the "XI Ernest Hemingway International Fishing Tournament”. Two months later, after becoming aware of the Cuban government’s plans to nationalize the properties of Americans and other foreigners on the island, Hemingway and his wife, Mary Welsh, left Cuba for the last time, leaving art pieces and manuscripts in the vault of a bank in Havana. Hemingway committed suicide in Ketchum, Idaho, on July 2, 1961, at the age of 61.
This Digital Journal reporter recently visited the Hotel Ambos Mundos in Havana and enjoyed one of the famous "Mojito" cocktails that Ernest Hemingway liked so much; however, it’s well known that the legendary writer always preferred to have this rum, lime and mint cocktail at the famous bar "La Bodeguita del Medio".
 Mojito  Cocktails at the Ambos Mundos Hotel  Old Havana  Cuba.
"Mojito" Cocktails at the Ambos Mundos Hotel, Old Havana, Cuba.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
More about Ernest hemingway, Ambos Mundos Hotel, Havana Cuba, American literature, Nobel Prize for Literature
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