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After our encounter with the Celtic cabbie, we were just about to head into our hotel when Frank turned around and asked:

“What did you want to do about dinner?”

I cringed at the thought.

Frank and Jen were exhausted, but they were obviously hungry from our all day adventure.

However, I found it hard to even think about food.

Needless to say, none of us wanted to go through the ordeal of deciding on a restaurant…

…getting seated,

…waiting,

…ordering,

…waiting,

…eating,

…waiting for the check.

Then Frank suggested:

“Why don’t we just go to the deli, pick something up, and take it back to the room with us?”

Jen agreed immediately.

I was just too tired to care.

We were very fortunate that our hotel was located in a part of town overrun with fine restaurants, and lots of places to grab a bite.

As a matter of fact, just four doors down from our hotel was a magnificent delicatessen the likes of which I have yet to find in North America.

Nashville may have the Wildhorse Saloon, otherwise known as the world’s longest bar…

…but we were about to belly up to the world’s largest deli counter.

The lavish food counters just went on and on…

From the first moment you walk into the deli, your nose latches onto the smell of fresh bread.

Then after another step you detect smoked meats.

Move a few inches to the right and you are overcome with the heady fragrance of amaretto cookies.

It was an immediate overload to my senses and I found myself backing away from the over embellished counters as to re-establish a regular breathing pattern before I get dizzy.

The store was about the size of your average 7-Eleven but it was stuffed from ceiling rafters to the floor. There was produce, cheeses, meats, wines, cookies, cakes, chocolates and exotic morsels and strange spices which were beyond my limited knowledge of what authentic European foods consist of.

Some of the items hanging from the ceiling I could recognize like ham, salami and various cheeses. Then there were hanging items that I did not recognize, nor did I ask what they were lest I break into tears if the truth be told.

There were no slushy machines behind the counter. Instead there were huge meat, bread and cheese slicers.

The cash register was not working that day, so pencil and paper were utilized to tally up purchases, and with remarkable skill and precision too.

There was no diminutive girl behind the counter but rather, a bear of a man with bushy brown hair who took pride in flexing his arms and muscles to the customers while bellowing out for the entire street to hear:

“I AM THE GREAT MAXIMUS…”

…and he was indeed.

As I lingered over the wine counter I was approached by Maria who treated me like an old friend rather than a mere customer.

I really liked that!

She would walk me up one aisle and down the next as she pointed to the unending treasures lying on the shelves while explaining them to me what they were like a house-proud hostess.

And so at last, the decision had to be made of what we were going to have for dinner.

The consensus was the toasted focaccia sandwiches stuffed with spinach, cheese, olives and salami, garnished with both an olive and tomato bruschetta.

Each sandwich was about 3 euros a pop… which was about $4.50 CDN.

Absolutely worth every penny.

After giving Max our order, in true gladiatorial fashion he proceeded to carve three enormous wedges from a sandwich like pie of sorts. Then he wrapped each sandwich with the gentility of someone who was wrapping cucumber sandwiches for an afternoon tea.

After settling our bill, we turned to leave the store, however, before exiting, the great Maximus called me over and shoved a stuffed paper bag into my hands before proceeding to wave goodbye to us.

Later on, back in our hotel room as we tucked into our dinner I opened the paper bag.

I didn’t have to open the bag to see what he gave us because the heady fragrance had already given the contents away.

The bag was brimming with amaretto cookies.

And so, on that note, our day ended very sweetly indeed.

Nom… nom… nom…

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