Tracking Hemingway (Paris, Peru, Venice and Sun Valley)
Since reading Old man and the Sea in the 3rd grade, I have been mesmerized by Papa. So many of his works have since impacted me at different points my life. As Luci and I have traveled, we have unintentionally followed his footsteps. Most recently in prep for my first visit to the African continent, I read his, “Green Hills of Africa.” Granted, Africa today is much different than in Hemmingway’s his day, I could really feel the romance and love he had for the people and the place.
I feel a real connection with Hemmingway. We are both travel writers. Of course, Hemmingway is in the majors, I’m still trying to get into the minors. I try to emulate Hemmingway’s approach of connecting with the locals, and seeing the off the beaten path places. Then, in turn, share these stories with those who will listen. We both have been known to be prone to a little embellishment at times….
Hemingway loved Paris. Paris loves Hemingway. We visited Paris last month and we decided to sign up for a Hemingway walk. Unfortunately, we were greatly disappointed in the tour…too many people and despite the name of the walk, Papa was only briefly discussed. I knew we were in trouble when at the onset the guide asked how many people had read “A Moveable Feast” and Luci and I and one other couple had read it. What a shame! But we did get to walk by his first home in Paris. He and his wife Hadley lived in a small walk-up at 74 Rue du Cardinal Lemoine in the Latin Quarter, and he worked in a rented room in a nearby building. Interesting enough, both locations claimed that he “lived” there.
It is of note the area that he chose to live in. Most of Hemingway expat friends lived in more “upscale” areas in Paris. Ernest chose to live in a real neighborhood. Cardinal Lemoine was working man’s Paris at the time. He brought up this fact in Moveable Feast. By proximity to the working class, he was able to keep that simple voice in his works. To contrast, another Idahoan that was a contemporary of Hemmingway in Paris, Ezra Pound, who chose to surround himself in very developmental years with the intellectually elite. Pound’s writings would reflect this foundation, and he never had the commercial success that Hemingway experienced. Hemingway would call Pound, “the poet’s poet.” Quite a compliment for sure.
“Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.” Ernest Hemingway
“Somebody just back of you while you are fishing is as bad as someone looking over your shoulder while you write a letter to your girl.” Ernest Hemingway
One of the really cool places we went in Lima, Peru, was the Grand Hotel Bolivar. Now the hotel feels past its prime, but standing off the bar by a beautiful marble mantle where Hemmingway would have shared his fishing escapades is very moving. I am sure a few good Cuban’s were lit here!
Hemingway made one trip with South America spending just under a month there. While there he pursued his love of sporting fishing. Peru is such a great place to visit! It truly has it all: the sun, the sea, and of course the jungle!
“My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way.“ Ernest Hemingway
One cannot discuss Hemingway in Venice without starting with Harry’s Bar. The watering hole is located just off St. Marks Square and is now a shell of the place it was back in the day. In its hay-day it was the headquarters of all things important. According to our friends at Wikipedia: “Harry’s Bar has long been frequented by famous people, and it was a favorite of Ernest Hemingway. Other notable customers have included Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini, inventor Guglielmo Marconi, Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Truman Capote, Orson Welles, Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Princess Aspasia of Greece, Aristotle Onassis, Barbara Hutton, Peggy Guggenheim, and Woody Allen.”
Hemingway spent time in Northern Italy during the first world war. Venice was a respite from the bloodshed and bombing that he witnessed. It was here he was able to collect his thoughts and put them to paper. Besides spending time at Harry’s, Hemingway at well in Veice, very well. A Venice restaurant has recreated one of Ernest favorite meals: http://www.tourism-review.com/venice-a-hotel-commemorates-hemingway-with-special-menu-news2769
“A man can be destroyed but not defeated.” Ernest Hemingway
Perhaps my closest connection to Ernesto was our common love of Idaho. I grew up in Eastern Idaho and regularly visited Sun Valley and the Wood River Valley. Hemingway chose to spend his last days there, and ultimately ended his life at his own hand there. In the early morning hours of July 2, 1961, Hemingway “quite deliberately” shot himself with his favorite shotgun. He is buried in the Sun Valley Cemetery just north of town. My business often takes me to the area, and I try to visit to pay my respects. There is always a Cuban cigar, or a bottle of Jack left as a tribute by fellow doting fans.
Sun Valley, candidly in and of itself, isn’t much to look at. However, Sun Valley is the gateway into the Sawtooth Mountains. They are some of the most ruggedly beautiful places in the world. The mountain range lives up to its name. Its craggy peaks and high mountain lakes are special. Big game hunting is plentiful. Winter transforms the entire area into a skiing mecca.
This post is missing two key Hemingway locations: Cuba and Spain. (They are on our list! Have you been?) Obviously, you don’t need to circle the globe to catch a glimpse of Papa. All you need to do is simply read one of his masterpieces.
“Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.” Ernest Hemingway