Hemingway in Barcelona.
For being present in many wars as a soldier and journalist, for rescuing images and stories of the worst experiences of mankind during the XXth century, we must stop for a moment and say “A farewell to arms” and speak about the legend of the man “For whom the bell tolls”. Characters who alternated their residency with Paris, hung around in the most hidden corners of the Modernist Barcelona. They roamed unnoticed in crowds and were inspired by his works. They wanted to be one among the many bohemian poets, painters and musicians seeking in the absinth for inspiring moments. “Write drunk, edit sober”, a phrase that is wrongly attributed to Hemingway, but that could have perfectly come out from his mouth. This phrase travels through the history of literature and the streets of Barcelona as wise words of a brilliant and legendary character, although he was not its author. The phrase is attributed to him because while passing through the capital of Catalunya, he allowed himself to fall in love with the variety of fermentable beverages which led his mind to create tales full of passion, crime and action. But there was something else that captivated Ernest Hemingway in Barcelona.
According to the legends of the Raval neighborhood, this character was a regular customer of a bar that still stands out among the others. The “carajillo” was his most sacred finding in Barcelona. This drink is also part of the hidden traditions of the condoval city. It invited our character to be inspired and joyful. With a mixture of coffee and rum in a small glass, Hemingway spent hours in the famous and legendary “London Bar” on the street “Nou de la Rambla”. The lady serving dinner is always glad to tell the story of Hemingway and the ”carajillo.” She shows everybody the pictures hanging on the walls that once circled for hours this enigmatic writer and journalist. Get away from the crowd of “Las Ramblas,” come to “El Raval” and sit at a table at the “London Bar.” This is the perfect plan for anyone who visits Barcelona and desires to know the myths and legends that are kept inside the walls of a store where Hemingway let his morbid thoughts come and go. Many believe that it was here where he gave life to some of his characters. Beautiful, evil women were changed into goddesses. Delicate, nice ladies where personified into murderers. The story of “carajillo” is only a small portion of what can be discovered through these streets. There are many more legends known only by those who were born and raised in Barcelona. Only a few are willing to share them with those who visit, it’s just a matter of looking for what is hidden, what does not appear in the tourist guides. We well know that Hemingway not only frequented the “London Bar,” he also had more hobbies and routines. We just need to know where to look and find what this charming character left in the real hidden Barcelona.