I was sitting yesterday at noon thinking the best way to cheer up my afternoon and suddenly a colleague of mine offered me visiting Finca Vigía, former residence in Havana of the worldwide famous writer Ernest Hemingway. The day absolutely changed, 25 minutes away from downtown and sightseeing San Miguel del Padron neighborhood, another way to meet social and cultural movement on the island.
Finally at the main gates painted by a not sad white and displaying a museum plaque. The sensation of driving through the narrow and steep street is so amazing, you feel the spirit of the writer right away, you can smell it, almost touch it.
Trees surround the place; the quietness is so obvious that no wonder why it became the residence of the novelist for over 20 years. In relation to the acquisition of the property, it´s said it was due to his third wife, the acclaimed journalist Martha Gellhorn; the truth is that on December 28th, 1940 “Finca Vigía” became Hemingway´s property.
It´s said the same year the writer passed away, Mary Welsh, her fourth wife traveled to Cuba and in a meeting with Fidel Castro in self gives the property for the cultural enjoyment of the Cuban people. And yes indeed, it´s sensational to visit the place. There´re ramps arrange to make easier the visit to the public. From the outside of every window and door, you get to take a peek to the library, the guest room, the dining room, Mrs. Welsh´s room, the bathroom, kitchen and the most amazing site: Hemingway´s workroom. The views from the spot the writer chose to overview the city are just unbeatable. An interesting fact is the library holds more than 9 thousand books, among which complete works of Horonato de Balzac, Mark Twain and Benito Perez Galdos stand out. The Tower was built in 1947 and has three floors of 12 meters high. It houses a tiny typewriter, a telescope, a deckchair and a terrace, with a panoramic view of the city.
His yacht Pilar, built of mahogany and copper, is another attraction that visitors can see when entering back of the museum. It is the same one that he used in the operation to chase Nazi submarines during World War II and in his fishing excursions in Cojímar. The yacht stands behind the pool and in front of it, the graves of the cats he loved so much. It´s said he loved cats the most and used to bury them in a sign of love and to pay respect.
Meeting memory of Hemingway is not difficult in the Greater Antilles “La Mayor de Las Antillas”. In Finca Vigía not only wrote part of “For whom the bell tolls” and “The old man and the sea”, but other works of recognition like “Islands in the gulf”, “Through the river between the trees”, “The Garden of Eden” and “Paris was a party”.
Although the experience didn´t take more than 45 minutes to liven the feeling in me after leaving the place was heartwarming. It´s always comforting to follow the steps of the greatest men in history. I went to sleep and still could hear the bamboos twinkling whisper in the courtyard.