Fellow travel writer Laura Byrne Paquet ended up in Amsterdam's Red Light District doing...well...not what you think. Paquet and her husband, tourists from Canada, had arranged a special meeting.
No, not for what you think!
They had arranged to have dinner with a local couple. A company called Like-a-Local arranges for visitors to have dinner with local residents in cities in Europe and the United States.
Paquet chose dinner at the home of a couple who wrote on the site that they loved to cook traditional Dutch food. She whipped out a credit card to cover the cost for a four- to five-course dinner and voila. She had a "reservation" for dinner. At someone's home.
One of the highlights of such a dinner, in my mind, is learning about a neighborhood in richer detail than you can from a guidebook. Paquet's host described a project to restrict prostitution in the famed red-light district and encourage upscale businesses to move in.
Over multiple glasses, the foursome also talked about the intricacies of Dutch politics. We get some of those stories here in Washington, D.C. I would have enjoyed hearing a Dutch point of view.
You can read more about the Like-a-local experience by reading Paquet's story in the Toronto Star.
Meanwhile, I'm completely intrigued and of course my mind is now wandering to what city I should visit to have a meal. Sometimes this type of interesting idea is all it takes for me to book a solo trip!
Of course I'd plan other things along with the dinner, but that might be the thing that gets me out the door.
How about you? Are there events or ideas that make you overcome, in a flash, your hesitation to travel somewhere by yourself?
Photos: Courtesy of Laura Byrne Paquet's blog "Facing the Street"
1. Amsterdam. 2. Laura with Dutch couple