With nothing on the schedule, and the weather heading downhill we devoted today to wandering around the city center, covering streets and areas that we’d not yet visited. The day started at the little coffee shop we’d visited a couple of days ago. Chai, an Americano, a chocolate chip muffin, and a spot at a table that represented the neatest little bit of small retail ingenuity. If the second-hand table won’t fit, make it.

We spent a lot of time in the Delft outlet picking up some additional souvenirs and visiting with the young woman who runs it. She offered us a ton of interesting suggestions, and so after a trip back to the hotel to drop off all those Delft products, we headed south to the Albert Cuypstraat Market. A permanent street market with lots of pop-up restaurant options, fresh vegetables, fruits, vegetables, fish, clothing, and gifts, it was a bit of a mashup between Madrid’s Rastro and an American grower’s market. We split a Croque Monsieur variation for lunch and topped that off with a couple of mini-Cannolis and homemade fudge before heading west to the Museum Plein and a hot chocolate and chai in the little outside restaurant where we’d had the same last week. An American woman asked if she could share our table and we invited her to do so. She turned out to be another American here exclusively for the Vermeer show. We regaled her with our experiences before walking a couple of blocks to the west to have a stroll down Pieter Cornelisz Hoofstraat, Amsterdam’s luxury shopping street. Chanel, Hermes, IWC, Balenciaga, and Tiffany offered some very exclusive window shopping.

I had had this brainstorm of finding a Swatch store to see if I could secure one of the new “Moonwatch” pieces, a collaboration between Omega and Swatch. They have been in serious demand, selling out instantly whenever they are available and after a long hike back north to the city center, we discovered we missed the last one in the store by one day. I guess we’ll have to come back.

Along the way, we passed some cool things. The first was this clever art installation in a storefront. Rembrandt, working on a canvas to his left in his studio. The funny conceit – his canvas was a LED screen that displayed an image from a hidden camera facing the street. If you lined it up correctly, you can have a selfie painted by the master. Look carefully, that’s me on the canvas.

We also found a “rubber duck store” that was about the most bizarre retail outlet we’d seen, anywhere.

After a break, we had dinner at Portuguesa Tasca, a Portuguese restaurant near the Rembrandtplein. I had Cabrito, stewed marinated baby goat and MLW had Arroz de Pata, sort of a baked duck Risotto. Both good and even better when topped off with a Pastel de Nata (little custard tarts, the national dessert of Portugal) and a glass of Ginja, that cherry liqueur that’s impossible not to love. It was a raucous restaurant with a great staff, and the experience was well worth the time.

And now it’s packing time before an early departure from our hotel base and the long haul back home.

Some snaps from today –

And a couple of shots from another one of those skinny little tax-dodging houses –

And finally, the mighty Amstel River at night –