Hasta la victoria siempre! Today the Cold War ended and President Obama announced the beginning of normalized relations with Cuba. This action began with Martha Gellhorn Hemingway getting special permission from Castro to get a few things from their house outside of Havana before all American property was seized by the government in 1960. This means that the Hemingway house (restored in 2007) is pretty much exactly how the Hemingways left it. Above: Hemingway and the war reporter Martha Gellhorn rented and then bought the house for $12,500 in December 1940. Gellhorn had wanted to get Hemingway away from his fame in downtown Havana and the bars Sloppy Joe’s and El Floridita.
I really hate the word “mancave” because it’s usually a bit of a demeaning term. But Hemingway had a tower—an effing TOWER—to himself on the side of the property.
Most of it looks a bit like my grandparents' house. Some old paintings and lame furniture. A nice place to be if you like sitting.
Readers of Green Hills of Africa will recognize a lot of these guys. Hemingway spent much of his adult life hunting obscure creatures in Africa, horned creatures that most huntsmen couldn’t be bothered to shoot if they found them nibbling in the garden.
Each room has a desk somewhere, but this is mostly ornamental. Hemingway wrote with two stiff fingers while standing upright.
They had a continental bathroom with a bidet and standup shower. Note how Hemingway weighed himself every day and kept track of it like a prizefighter/junior-high schooler.
Dude had a thing for shoes. Mostly lace-up boots that could handle the dirt roads.
This would have been Martha Gellhorn’s room. Note the “modesty panel” in front of the desk. Women used to be taught in secretary school to keep something there so they could type better with both feet on the floor. This was to untrain them that a “modest” woman always sat with her legs crossed.
A kid's room. Hemingway had three young boys at the time: John, Patrick and Gregory.
In the Cuban style, there are no screens on the windows (usually open) and the floors are all tile and treated like outdoor space.
Ernest Hemingway loved flowers. Dude had flower beds and pots lining every entrance and a hanging garden in back.
This is Hemingway's vast library at the very top of his isolated, not-trying-to-compensate-for-anything rock-hard stone tower.
This part is roped off, but I gave the housekeeper a dollar to take a photo for me. She was so nice!
Ernest Hemingway with a downed leopard, in oil pastels. This one I can’t get over. Did a fan send it in? Was it drawn from a famous photo I haven’t seen? Or did Hemingway sit next to a rotting leopard for an hour working on his tan while some poor guy drew this four-foot masterpiece? Look at the scar on his left arm!
Hemingway’s kitty graveyard. In Cuba Hemingway began breeding cats, usually six-toed little guys who still haunt the property.
Helm of Hemingway’s beloved boat: MADE IN BROOKLYN.
Although best known for The Old Man and the Sea, Hemingway had a much bigger boat than the poor fisherman he wrote about. This, the Pilar, was registered in Key West, Florida, where he met Martha. Also, after seeing this I think I need to sell a few more copies of my book.
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