Old Man & the Sea in Cuba
Ernest Hemingway certainly has a huge fan base in Cuba, having lived there for much of his life. After he was a war correspondent for the Spanish civil war, he crossed his fishing boat , the Pilar, into Cuban waters and made his home for the next seven years in Havana at the Hotel Ambos Mundas.
In 1940, with his new wife Martha, Hemingway bought an estate, about fifteen miles outside of Havana, which they named “Finca Vigia” (Lookout Farm). He would live here for the next twenty years. It was during this time that he wrote one of his most famous books, For Whom the Bell Tolls, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Five years later, he would divorce and marry his fourth wife Mary, who lived with him here until 1960.
Hemingway was a big hunter from his time in Africa. Trophies from his trips hang in every room as silent reminders of a nomadic, adventurous life lived in many corners of the world. His living room was nearly fifty feet long, decorated with original art from personal friends…a Joan Miro, a Juan Gris, a Paul Kleé, a Picasso. He certainly traveled in a unique circle of friends.
Almost every room was stacked with hundreds of books…some twenty or thirty feet long, some from floor to ceiling, shelves sagging from the weight of so many. On every table, a stack of magazines and correspondence sat frozen in time, waiting for responses.
Hemingway had many famous visitors at his home. He used to tell friends how warm the pool was after a nude Ava Gardner swam in the waters. His wife, however, did not approve, which led her to hide Ava’s clothes from the actress, which left a naked Ava running all the way back to the house.
Hemingway was also a passionate fisherman who spent much of his days aboard his boat Pilar, now resting quietly under the protection of shade on the property of his estate. Gone are the expensive tackle, the powerful engine, along with the tall tales of his legendary love of drinking, smoking Cuban cigars, fishing between his home in Key West, and Cuba, talking, and writing with no concept of time.
Famous since he was twenty five, with hardly a person on the planet not having read one of his books, the memories and stories of Hemingway that are tied to this house are now in the hands of the Cuban government. His home now operates as a museum for one of the most famous writers of our time. It still remains with all of it’s original contents for all who care to visit. If these walls could only talk, what stories they would have to tell…