Ice-cream in Trieste/Palmanova/Graz

Shopping abroad was usually done in packs of extended family. This time it was Petar, his father, his cousin, and his aunt. They left Zagreb early in the morning, before 6 AM, as this was how trips were done in this family. He hated waking up early, but this time the excitement of travelling abroad kicked in the second he opened his eyes. He doesn’t remember the trip itself that much. Probably he was asleep most of the time. He did not notice crossing the border at all. After coming to Trieste/Palmanova/Graz, he first felt some sort of disappointment. Rows of stalls and stands selling cheap clothes and cheap toys reminded him of the market of his Dalmatian small-town, Sibenik. Was this all there was? Shouldn’t this foreign country be more beautiful, more modern, more exciting – just completely different? He was really not interested in buying clothes in the dirty open market. His attitude changed when they approached a huge yellow building with the capital letters saying: B I L L A. White, yellow, red – it just seemed so colourful. This has to be something special, as his father and aunt were talking about Billa for a while – this was, it seems, their ultimate goal. They never mentioned that there was anything special about this store, but he could easily sense the excitement, which emanated from them while preparing for the trip. And now he was there, and this place was a complete shock to him: there were no stores of this size in his hometown. And the lights! It was so bright inside. Also, it looked so clean, like he entered the pharmacy, not a huge busy marketplace. Among the sea of colourful articles, what stayed with him the longest was the ice-cream. His father took him to the ice-cream freezer and told him to choose one, suggesting the biggest one they had. Apparently, it was famous and his father’s favourite. They left the store, he opened the ice-cream and started eating it. ‘Do you like it?,’ his father asked. He wasn’t sure though. Excitement for the huge sized ice-cream in a foreign country was way stronger than enjoyment in the taste of the ice-cream. Taste-wise, it was just another ice-cream, nothing more or less. But the size! However, pretty soon, it was exactly the size that became problematic. The boy just could not finish this huge ice-cream. He felt bad, as he wanted to finish it, because it was obviously a special ice-cream, probably some big brand he just never heard of because you could not buy it in Croatia. He also did not want to make his father mad, as throwing the food in his family was usually avoided at all cost. So he was walking down the street of Trieste/Palmanova/Graz, with this huge ice-cream melting in his hand. His father noticed it, laughed, and just said ‘Throw it away, it’s too big for a kid, I should have known’. So he threw the ice-cream in the bin and continued shopping with his family.