After the ice-skating fiasco, Rudy needed to stay out of the spotlight for a few days. He booked into Verdura Resort, where he planned to lay low and recuperate from the fall – and his embarrassment.
The team at Palermo airport did not bat an eyelid at the elk as he moved through Arrivals. They assumed, quite logically, that he was a hard-working reindeer taking a restorative break before the demands of the festive season. Rudy didn’t bother to correct them – in a way, he was pleased he hadn’t been recognised.
In late November, a magazine exposé had finally revealed the ice-skating, aria-belting ballet sensation to be one and the same reindeer. Rudy’s fame had rocketed – but not as an elk.
Of course, the team at Verdura were incredibly discreet about the four-legged celebrity that arrived in their midst. Sensing Rudy’s low mood at check-in, they immediately created a full schedule of spa rituals, using Forte Organics products to reinvigorate the anxiety-ridden elk.
After a few days in Verdura Spa, he started to feel a lot better about the world. The humiliation of his failed triple toe-loop had started to cool, so he decided to look over the press photos from Brussels.
To his horror, he discovered that he hadn’t been looking his best. A good image was critical to his campaign for the reputation of Europe’s elks, and in these photos, he looked more like… well, more like a reindeer.
He immediately booked into every fitness class Verdura had to offer.
A crack squad led by Marcello the Fitness Manager kept Rudy on his hooves. He lifted weights with his antlers at the gym, displayed remarkable suppleness at sunrise yoga, and stormed away from his trainer on jogs through the Sicilian countryside. Of course, it helped that he could canter.
After a week of intensive exercise and a strict Mediterranean diet, Rudy was ready to return to the spotlight and fight for the elks. It was time to visit Rome.