Be sure to read/look at the previous entry if you haven’t already. It explains my purpose with this post. As before, page numbers refer to the First Scribner trade paperback edition, 2003. All photos, unless they are mine, were pulled from the internet, so if one belongs to you and you would prefer that I remove it, just let me know and I will.
Paris & Other Parts of France (& Europe)
[Bill] wrote that Vienna was wonderful. Then a card from Budapest: “Jake, Budapest is wonderful.” (76)
Vienna, Austria. In German it’s called Wien, and sausages (and people, and anything really…) from Wien are called Wieners — which is where we get the word. Wonderful!
Budapest, Hungary. Incidentally, the first city outside the US that I ever traveled to. Wonderful!
At the juncture of the Rue Denfert-Rochereau with the Boulevard is a statue of two men in flowing robes. (78)
One of these robed gents is an architect. Not the father of pharmacy as Bill says.
“Is she really Lady something or other?” Bill asked in the taxi on our way down to the Ile Saint Louis. (82)
There are two very important islands in the River Seine in Paris. The first is the Ile de la Cité, upon which sits Notre Dame cathedral along with the marker that is the cartographic center of Paris (ie. all distances from Paris are measured from that exact point) and many other important buildings. Behind Ile de la Cité is the Ile St. Louis, which is somewhat more residential and is, in fact, one of the most expensive neighborhoods to live in in Europe. It is in the foreground of this picture.
We walked along under the trees that grew out over the river on the Quai d’Orléans side of the island. (82)
The Quai d’Orleans side of the Ile St. Louis. (I think…this is from our school trip in April 2015)
We walked on and circled the island. The river was dark and a bateau mouche went by, all bright with lights, going fast and quiet up and out of sight under the bridge. Down the river was Notre Dame, squatting against the night sky. We crossed to the left bank of the Seine by the wooden foot-bridge from the Quai de Bethune, and stopped on the bridge and looked down the river at Notre Dame. Standing on the bridge the island looked dark, the houses were high against the sky and the trees were shadows. (83)
This is a view from a bateau mouche on the Seine (bateau is French for boat). The building in the back to the right is the Musée d’Orsay, an art museum dedicated to Impressionist art (and one of my most favorite museums in the world).
“Say, there’s plenty of Americans on this train,” the husband said. “They’ve got seven cars of them from Dayton, Ohio. They’ve been on a pilgrimage to Rome, and now they’re going down to Biarritz and Lourdes.” (91)
Rome, Italy. “The Eternal City.” All roads lead here, and it wasn’t built in a day.
Biarritz. Swanky French beach town.
Lourdes, France. In 1858 a peasant girl had visions of the Virgin Mary here, and the place subsequently became an important site of pilgrimage, in particular for those suffering from diseases that have no cure, for Lourdes is most famous for its number of miraculous healings (thousands of them).
The train stopped for half an hour at Bordeaux and we went out through the station for a little walk. (94)
Bordeaux is a charming small city on France’s southern Atlantic coast. It’s one of the most important wine-growing regions in France, which is probably the most important wine-growing country in the world. Which would make Bordeaux the most important wine region in the world.
Bayonne is a nice town. It is like a very clean Spanish town and it is on a big river…We went out into the street and took a look at the cathedral. (96)
Bayonne, France. Note the cathedral in the background.
We past lots of Basques with oxen, or cattle, hauling carts alnog the road, and nice farmhouses, low roofs, and all white-plastered. In the Basque country the land all looks very rich and green and the houses and villages look well-off and clean. Every village had a pelota court and on some of them kids were playing in the hot sun. There were signs on the walls of the churches saying it was forbidden to play pelota against them, and the houses in the villages had red tiled roofs… (97)
The Basque people, by some estimates, are part of the oldest culture in Europe. Their language, Euskara (or Basque), is unrelated to all other languages in Europe; that is, it’s not an offshoot of Latin (like Spanish, French and Italian) or German (like English and Dutch). Some believe it goes back as far as the stone age, but its origins are unknown. it tells us that the Basque have been in the area for a very, very long time.
Then we crossed a wide plain, and there was a big river off on the right shining in the sun from between the line of trees, and away off you could see the plateau of Pamplona rising out of the plain, and the walls of the city, and the great brown cathedral, and the broken skyline of the other churches. In back of the plateau were the mountains, and every way you looked there were other mountains, and ahead the road stretched out white across the plain going toward Pamplona. (99)
Is that not gorgeous?
At the end of the street I saw the cathedral [of Pamplona] and walked up toward it. The first time I ever saw it I thought the facade was ugly but I liked it now. (102)
We sat in the Iruña [cafe] for a while and had coffee and then took a little walk out to the bull-ring… (105)
The Cafe Iruña, interior
If you have your meal or your drink at the bar of the Iruña, you can drink with Hemingway’s statue!
We’re going trout fishing in the Irati River… (108)
The Irati River. Dramatic.
As we came to the edge of the rise we saw the red roofs and white houses of Burguete ahead strong out on the plain, and away off on the shoulder of the first dark mountain was the gray metal-sheathed roof of the monastery of Roncesvalles. (114)
Burguete. Red roofs and white houses, just as Hemingway described.
This isn’t related to Hemingway, but one of the most important stories from the Middle Ages, “The Song of Roland”, tells of the Battle of Roncesvalles. In the story, Charlemagne’s army is facing the Saracens and suffers its only major loss, one that would have been worse had Roland (Orlando in Spanish/Italian) not blown his horn and warned his fellow knights. This story laid the framework for the concept of chivalry and knighthood in Europe. This picture shows Roland/Orlando’s death at Roncesvalles.
In the evenings we played three-handed bridge with an Englishman named Harris, who had walked over from Saint Jean Pied de Port and was stopping at the inn for the fishing. (130)
St. Jean Pied de Port
Most of the places mentioned in the Spanish section of the book are part of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. This is an ancient pilgrimage route from the Pyrenees at the border of France and Spain to the Atlantic Coast. Originally those who walked the Camino did so for religious or spiritual purposes, and many still do, but many others hike or bike the roughly 500 miles because it’s a stunningly gorgeous walk! Because people have been doing this for centuries, there are many hostels and places to stay along the way for pilgrims. When Hemingway mentions that Harris walked over from St. Jean Pied de Port, he’s implying that Harris was probably walking the Camino.
They’ve never seen a desencajonada. (136)
For the following quotations, see the videos below:
At noon of Sunday, the 6th of July, the fiesta [of San Fermin] exploded. (156)
Before the waiter brought the sherry the rocket that announced the fiesta went up in the square. It burst and there was a gray ball of smoke high up above the Theatre Gayarre. (157)
People were coming into the square from all sides, and down the street we heard the pipes and the fifes and the drums coming. They were playing the riau-riau music, the pipes shrill and the drums pounding, and behind them came the men and boys dancing. (157)
The afternoon was a big religious procession. San Fermin was translated from one church to another. In the procession were all the dignitaries, civil and religious. (158-9)
[Pedro Romero, the matador] was the best-looking boy I’ve ever seen. (167)
Hemingway based the character of Pedro Romero on the young toreador, Cayetano Ordoñez. He was right; he wasn’t bad looking.
“No. I can stay another week. I think I’ll go to San Sebastian.” (232)
San Sebastian. Looks like a good vacation spot, no?