You are back at the hotel in thirty minutes. You have walked a long way
today and your feet are a little sore. You push the heavy wooden door
open and you walk into a small enclosed courtyard . The black wrought
iron door that leads into the lobby is open. The building is cool and
dark. There is a different young girl sitting at the table. She smiles
at you as you walk in. You ask if they have any ice cream. She sees you
are hot and asks if you would like some special ice cream . Special. The
word intrigues you. Yes,of course,you reply. She then goes on to tell
you about Vivoli, a small gelateria that is reputed to be the best in
Italy and subsequently the best in the world. For some reason the idea
of having the best ice cream in the world right now seemed like the best
thing you could be doing. Call me a taxi, you say to the girl. How long
until supper, you ask. An hour she replies. Plenty of time.
The taxi arrives in a minute. You jump in and simply say Vivoli. The
driver nods his head in acknowledgement. In five minutes you are there.
You tell him to wait and he smiles. You think he has done this before.
The place is small and there is an L-shaped cooler with possibly twenty
flavours of ice cream. You have a choice of sizes.You pick the 5000 lira
container . About half a pint. Oh which to choose. You point to the richest
looking chocolate. The lady behind the counter scoops out a scoopfull
and fills about a third of the cup. You decide to be adventuresome and
try some limona and pistachio, neither flavor you are familiar with. She
quickly fills up the cup. They are generous here. Your cup overflows.
She stuffs in a spoon and hands it to you. She is smiling and she looks
genuinely pleased to be giving you this little treat , as if she knows
this is going to be special for you. You go with the chocolate first.
You lift the spoon to your mouth and then just a little higher so you
can get a whiff of a totally new kind of chocolate. It is chocolate but
nothing like the chocolate that you knew. You inhale through your nose
and a bell rings in the back of your head as the flavour registers. It
was like the chocolate ice cream that you had as a young child, maybe
four or five years old, when it was special and new. You put the small
spoonful into your mouth. You have one thought. This has been the only
time that you can remember when what you got was as good as what you were
expecting. The flavor explodes in your mouth and you scarsely believe
what you are tasting. The other two flavors cannot possibly be as good.
Ah, but already the next mouthful no matter what flavor could never be
as good as the first. It will taste almost,very nearly,exactly like the
first but it wont have the same oomph. It was your very last first time.
You try the limona and the contrast in taste works very well on the palette
from the sweet to the slightly sour. The pistachio proved to be somewhere
in the middle.
You get back into the cab and in another five minutes you are at the
hotel. You are still eating when you walk into the lobby. The young girl
sitting at the desk greets you with a big smile . Well, she says, how
much do you like it? I knew what she meant to say but the assuredness
of quality was apparent. She knew it was good. You finish off the last
mouthful and tell her that it is truly the best ice cream you have ever
tasted. Thank you for telling me about it, you say. Her smile widens when
you say this and she is delighted by your statement.
Its time for a nap. You walk up the stairs and you are impressed by the
fine looking furniture and art on the landing of the first floor. There
are paintings on the wall all the way up. You make your way to your floor.
The double doors to your room are at least eight feet high and you are
impressed by the sculpted door handles. Actually, you have been impressed
by a lot of things today.