We'd strolled through the whitewashed villas atop the Isle of Capri, drinking Lachryma de Christo in a shady hilltop restaurant as the sunlight danced on the waves of the Tyrrhenian Sea.
We'd communed with the ghosts of Pompeii and Herculaneum, sipping surprising good cappuccino and dulce de leche in a tourist bar.
We'd driven the length of the Amalfi Coast, sucking gratefully at cool bottles of Peroni while the sweat dried on our bodies in the salt- and seaweed-scented breeze.
And, on what I believe was our last day, after our second day spent walking the streets of Sorrento, moving from cool shadow to blazing sun, we left the cobblestones, cathedrals and courtyards to settle into a streetside cafe where we had limoncello.
Dear reader, it was a transcendent experience. The intensity of the lemon flavor, the clean, biting top note of the alcohol, all supported by the sweetness of the liqueur, was just heavenly. It was like relaxation and serenity and contentment, carefully distilled to 100 proof and sealed in an oddly-shaped bottle.
You know what happens next, right?
Of course you do.
We bought a bottle (being VERY careful to get the same brand we'd just enjoyed), took it back home with us, and... were utterly disappointed. Out of context, it tasted nothing like what we'd had. It's possible we'd been rooked, and had overpaid for a cheap, crappy, tourist version of the heaven-in-a-glass that gave us such pleasure in Sorrento.
Such are the vicissitudes of travel. It broadens the mind, deepens the soul, and, if you let it, educates the palate.
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