There was a feeling of transition in the air today. The weather, a warm mid-30s, had the energy and breeze that suggested a change was coming. The only question was when it would hit. It felt like it had been brewing for some time, and undoubtedly those first few drops were going to arrive as a rush of a long awaited exhalation.
We had bought some breakfast supplies at the supermarket the day before as there was nothing provided with our room. Our mini fridge had seemed relatively ineffective yesterday so I had, in what was definitely a great idea, I swear, put my milk in the freezer. Of course, the only part of a bar fridge that ever works - and too well, normally - is the freezer, so when it came time for my muesli in a cup (literally, as we couldn't find takeaway bowls and bought plastic cups instead) I had to run it under hot water for a while.
After our museum medley in Florence I was ready to take it a little easier and so we set off down the main shopping strip with no real direction in mind other than the historic district we knew lay at the end. The sun's sting was faltering, but the shade at the foot of the Kunsthistorisches Museum was still welcome. We ate lunch at what turned out to be a ghoulash museum and then stumbled upon an Australian bar offering Fosters. We decided instead to walk the leafy aisle towards the Schloss Belvedere.
A large fountain spat water from the rims and, encouraged by others doing the same, I took my shoes off and dangled them in the jets. Eventually, Sam gave in and did the same. The walk to the Belvedere was certainly easier after a free foot massage, though the electricity in the air suggested that the storm was going to get the rest of us wet soon too. The large palace and open garden of the Belvedere was on a scale I hadn't expected from the map, and the opportunity to catch a couple of Monets and a Van Gogh among many others ticked that particular box off the European travel checklist.
As we exited the building the balance tipped, and soon the drops were flying left and right. I trod on, enjoying the feeling after a week and a half of heat. It's funny how it can all come down to such a little thing like that. Sam, flustered, wanted to catch a cab. I said he was welcome too, but I didn't feel the need myself. For a moment, the rain was sharp and stung, but it felt like relief.
The squalls came and went throughout the rest of the night. Sam, never having ridden on public transport, got a brief from me about the U-bahn and was then left to guide us to the Rathaus, where an open air film festival and food evening was occurring. I didn't speak up when we missed our stop, but I'm sure that he'll remember the lesson to pay attention to where you are and where you need to be.
The night ended in a buzz of electricity, with the open gala a lovely dusk setting full of a variety of stalls and cuisines. I had my first curry fix in a while, and likely for a while, and the night was capped off by crepes and an open air cinema showing an opera. As we wandered back to the hostel, the skies had lifted slightly, but the forecast suggests there'll be more storms on the way soon.