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Madrid: Cervantes Institute exhibit features war-time journalists

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Hemingway and Gelhorn, sittin’ in a tree
Elizabeth Gorman’s ghostly capture of a photograph of Hemingway and Gelhorn

The Cervantes Institute’s current exhibition, “Correspondents in the Spanish Civil War,” documents the lives of journalists in Spain during the War. Big hitters Ernest Hemingway and George Orwell—both of whom took up arms—were just a few members of the A-list writers’ club whose harrowing work is on display in its original format.

Leave it to Hemingway, the only one with a car, to woo his (third) wife on the Spanish battlefield. Martha Gelhorn, an American journalist covering the war for Collier’s, was one of a handful of international journalists and writers who ended up at the Hotel Florida, just off the capital’s Gran Vía and a walk from the grandiose Telefonica building, where foreign correspondents filed their dispatches.

Despite the shootouts and aerial bombings, Madrileño life went on as normal during the Civil War. Just down the street from the institute is Museo Chicote (Gran Vía 12. +34-915-326-737), perhaps the most famous bar in the world—voted MTV’s best—where a good menú del dia can be had for just €10. Here the historic pack of journalists gathered, drank, and waited out the fuselage like rain on Gran Vía.

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