Browsing Tag

Hemingway

Ambos Mundos, Around the world travel, Backpacking, Bucket List, Cuba, Havana, Hemingway, Travel, Varadero

Adios Coche, Adios Christy…

Rocky’s ride

The following morning, we head to Cafe Ria for our last breakfast and wait for Rocky to pick us up. Just before 9:00, I move from the small patio to stand on the sidewalk and sure enough, I see Rocky’s car coming down the road. I give Christy a thumbs up. Our arrangement was made so hastily and under such odd circumstances, that we were slightly hesitant about it all panning out, but it had.

We throw our bags in the back and begin the 3 hour drive back to Havana, stopping every 30 minutes so Rocky can pour water over the car’s radiator. I don’t mind the stops as it affords us amazing views of the surrounding scenery. To our left are lush, green rolling hills and to our right are miles and miles of sandy coastline. It continues like this until we reach the tunnel that will deposit us back in Old Havana.

The journey that never was…

We’re booked in at Carlos’s B&B for the night, which is centrally located on Aguilar. Carlos is nowhere to be found, but the cleaning lady lets us in and shows us to our room. We drop our stuff and decide to head out to Hemingway’s finca for the afternoon.

We walk down Aguilar to the waterfront, stop in a corner cafe for a mojito and then begin to negotiate a ride to the finca. We find a driver and begin driving back towards Vedado. Funny, I thought it was in the other direction (?) I can’t really communicate this in my broken Spanish and trust the driver knows where he’s going. We pass the many embassies that line Quinta Avenida, and just as we’re admiring the beautiful architecture, our car stalls out.

This is nothing out of the ordinary really. If you think about it, these cars are ancient. Our driver gives us a reassuring nod as he gets out of the car to check out the problem. The look he gives us when he gets back in is not as reassuring. The car is dead!

Adios coche…

He doesn’t hesitate and flags down another driver on a side street to pass us off to, directing him on where to take us, and moments later we arrive at Hemingway’s Marina. No, not Hemingway’s finca… his marina. This jaunt has gone wrong from start to finish, and we explain to the driver where we’d been hoping to go. Not entirely understanding how we got here, but feeling a bit sorry for us, he graciously agrees to take us back to Old Havana. When we arrive back in the city, we exit the cab at Plaza des Armas and head to Ambos Mundos. If we can’t have Hemingway’s finca, we will at least visit his hotel.

Ambos Mundos, Hemingway’s Hotel

Floor to ceiling windows and doors let afternoon light stream into the first floor of the hotel, and an older gentleman plays piano near a corner entryway.  Everything seems to circle the large mahogany bar that sits in the middle of the room. People come and go taking a respite from the afternoon heat,  admiring the space and checking out the collection of photographs of Hemingway on one of the tiled walls. We take a seat at the bar and order a couple of rums and toast to the journey that never was. Wasn’t it Hemingway who said something about grace under pressure??

We walk back to our casa via Plaza Vieja, the square that always seems to be bursting with life. An outdoor concert is in full swing, so we grab chairs at a table nearby and listen to the last set. We then head back to Cafe de los Artistas, where Christy and I toast to our last night in Havana.

We head home, check email and hear from Sarah. She is home in snow-covered Boston, and another storm is on the way. She advises Christy to check her flight and then tells me she’s connected me with another traveler she met after we left Havana. His name is Matt and he’s also a photographer. I send Matt a quick message with details on where we’re staying and tell him to stop by in the morning if he wants to share a ride to Trinidad. One part of the adventure is over and another about to begin.