- Cerveceria Alemana – Madrid
Plaza Sta. Ana, 6, 28012 Madrid, Spain
We all know Hemingway was a big drinker. In fact, most of his books revolve around some sort of drinking and were my introduction to alcohol as a preteen (I often wondered how to pronounce ‘vermouth’). Hemingway loved coming to Madrid for the bullfights, the food, the people, and, of course, the drinking. One of his favorite haunts was none other than La Alemana where he used to enjoy a cold beer at his preferred table near the window. Rumor has it, he frequented La Alemana so much that that table was actually reserved just for him!
- Sobrino de Botín – Madrid
Calle Cuchilleros, 17, 28005 Madrid, Spain
El Botín is featured in Hemingway’s final chapter of ‘The Sun Also Rises’ and, according to the main character Jake, is one of the best restaurants in the world. I hear the suckling pig is to die for but, being a vegetarian, my days of trying suckling anything-with-meat are pretty much behind me. Hemingway enjoyed eating (and drinking) at El Botín whenever he was in Madrid, and these days it’s a pretty busy joint. I popped in one evening and was told they were full up. It may have been because of Easter Week, but if you plan on trying out this particular Hemingway haunt it might be safer to make a reservation!
- Bullring – Ronda
Hemingway described Ronda as the ‘most romantic town in Spain’, and it’s not hard to see why he considered it the perfect place to fall in love. Built on the edge of a cliff, Ronda is a gorgeous little town that shouldn’t be missed on your quest to uncover Hemingway haunts. Ronda is home to the oldest bullring in Spain and Hemingway was drawn to the city due to its ancient bullfighting traditions. In fact, he wrote in ‘Death in the Afternoon’ that Ronda is the best town to ‘see your first bullfight in if you were only going to see one.’ Papa Hemingway is so beloved in the town that they’ve erected a bust of him right in front of the bullring and there’s also a road called Paseo de E Hemingway!
- Plaza de España – Ronda
You won’t find any busts of Hemingway, or old pub tables where Papa used to sit in Ronda’s Plaza de España, but you can retrace the steps of one of the most important scenes in Hemingway’s brilliant novel ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’. In the book there is a chapter where the townspeople take local fascists as prisoners and force them run a gauntlet. It’s one of the most harrowing and tragically beautiful pieces of writing in ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ and absolutely unforgettable. The supposed fascists were brought out into Plaza de España where some were beaten to death and others, the ones who made it through the gauntlet, were run off the cliff where Ronda’s iconic bridge stands. It’s definitely chilling to replay the scene in your head as you walk from Plaza de España to the bridge and look over the edge at that long, terrifying fall.
Even if you don’t get to set foot in any of Hemingway’s haunts, travel in search of the Spain he loved. I didn’t expect to, but I too fell in love with the Spaniards, their food, and their culture. Visiting Spain was something I never realized should have been on my bucket list until after I’d done it! I hope you can say the same!
Have you visited any Hemingway haunts in Spain? Share your story in the comments section!