One of the things that we have discovered over the years on our travels, is that beyond just the destination, it is the people who make the experience. We've been to some really wonderful places but were left wanting because of a mediocre guide while we've been to some unexpected locations that turned out to be real gems because we had the right people showing us what and where to look.
And more often than not, the people we meet on our travels - from guides to hospitality staff, local partners to community leaders - are some of the most inspiring and interesting personalities we have encountered. Even as the years go by, we will always remember the captivating stories of their lives that define global diversity and give reason to why we continue to travel and learn.
While we have always been fortunate to be able to organize experiences where we are able to meet local communities, we know that this is probably not something that most can do 'on-the-fly'. Book a flight, room, restaurant etc just about anything at the tip of your fingertips but you can't really just 'book a local' or can you? So when we discovered this experience-based travel community where you can sort of 'book a local' online, we knew we had to check it out.
Triple.co is a community-curated platform where locals in European cities (for now) creates travel experiences based on their interests, knowledge and expertise to offer visitors to their cities. So instead of the run-of-mill general tour around the city, you get to pick experiences based on your own interests and preferences. A biking aficionado? Discover the historical Milanese canals on the bike path with a local biker. Can't get enough of Scandi minimalism? Embrace the chic fashion trend in a photo-shoot on the streets of Stockholm with a local photographer. A crafty soul? Learn the art of Portuguese jewellery making in Lisbon.
And for us? We decided on a little wine discourse (a passion of ours, but you already know that) in Milan with Semone Noel - the resident foodie over at Gastronomer. Through Triple.co, she offers a 2.5 hour experience that introduces visitors to the Milanese tradition of aperitivo with flight of wines (or cocktails) and appetizers that are typical to the land. A native New Yorker who moved to Italy six years ago, Semone's cheerful personality combined with her love for good food and wine makes her a great host to discuss just about anything under the Italian sun. In a cozy little corner booth in Il Secco, the bar of choice for our tasting, we shared stories and interests on wines, food and the Italian experience while one of the bar's owner introduced our wine flights and little bites for the evening.
So, in 'booking' Semone for the evening, or with any other experience we are assuming, is that she gave context to an otherwise ordinary night of wine-drinking. You could be in any wine bar in Milan, had the same wine and food and walk away non-the-wiser, or you could do all that with a dash of useful cultural insight that is ever only accessible with a local. No amount of guide books will ever be able to describe or explain why the taste of home-made Italian onion marmalade just jives ever so well against the sharpness of a bubbly wine made in Italy but not quite in a the usual Italian taste profile.
Il Secco is a bar just off the Navigli specialising in everything bubbly - proseccos, Franciacortas, OltrePo's, spumantes - basically if it has bubbles, they've got it. Browse through the gallery for info on the tipples we had.
Discover other travel experiences on your next trip to Europe. Triple.co is now available in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Bologna, Lisbon, London, Madrid, Milan, Paris, Rome, Stockholm and Venice.