I’ve spent almost every birthday for the past 11 years in a different country, so I decided I’d stick to tradition for my 26th last week! I was so happy when the ladies accepted my very last minute proposal to do an all-girls, five-country, ONE-day birthday blitz road trip!!! Although I’d already been to all of the countries on the list, I was excited to revisit some of the cities and to discover a few new ones as well.
At 6am we all jumped in the car and headed for our first stop three hours away in Bonn, Germany. I was instantly spoiled with my very own personal chauffeur AKA Mom, designated sandwich maker and DJ AKA “sister-in-law” Anita, and tour guide and planner AKA good friend Jessica Lipowski.
We were on a very strict time schedule because Jess and I needed to be in Liege, Belgium to host our #TRLT Twitter chat at 7pm. Finding parking in the centre of Bonn was taking too long so we decided to head directly to the “pink castle” Jess had showed me on Google the night before. As much as I love European city squares, I’ll always choose nature and a remote castle over anything else.
A road trip wouldn’t be a road trip without getting at least slightly lost and breaking a few rules. We managed to do both in our search for the Schloss Drachenburg castle. As we passed “private property” signs Anita kept telling us from the co-pilot seat, “It’s private property. I think we’re trespassing.” but we were determined to reach the castle. “We’re stupid tourists and the GPS is telling us to go this way.”
Up and up we drove past several signs, trudging on as the road narrowed until we were pleasantly surprised to reach a spectacular view point over the Rhein River!!! It wasn’t a surprise though when the friendly guard told us we weren’t allowed to drive but rather had to pay €7/person to take the tram up to the viewpoint. Unable to resist our happy, smiling faces and party hats, he said he’d watch our car for us while we enjoyed the view and walked through the beautiful forest to sneak a peek of the breathtakingly beautiful pink castle.
We all wore our glittery party hats the entire day, in the car and walking through the cities, gaining us lots of stares, birthday wishes and smiles. An old man with a walker walking down the hill to the castle even stopped me to give me a piece of candy for a birthday present. Haha.
Next stop was Luxembourg, Jessica’s 33rd country!
I was just as impressed the second time by this steep, walled city. The views are spectacular and there are a lot of sites worth visiting. Unfortunately we were on a time crunch so ran around to see the views, central street and checked out a gorgeous church with big stain glass windows. The air physically felt heavy within the walls of the church. Wow. I can’t help but imagine the history of such a building and the immeasurable number of footsteps that have passed throughout hundreds of years.
We had initially planned to reach Metz, France but with the restriction were only able to make it to a small village called, Kanfen just over the border. We spotted the town’s church on the hill and made our way up to it. The view was lovely from the secluded grounds. We had the church to ourselves and both Mom and Anita thoroughly enjoyed reading the names and dates of the tombstones in the graveyard in the front yard. Definitely the first time I’ve visited a graveyard on my birthday.
From there we b-lined it to Liege, Belgium and hit our first bit of traffic of the day which made us arrive 30 minutes late to the Pentahotel in Liege where we would host #TRLT. Overall I was very impressed that we managed to cover all five countries and still make it for #TRLT at the end of the day as planned. We celebrated on #TRLT with my favourite topic, NATURE. I loved all of the amazing nature photography from around the world shared by fellow travellers.
Mom, Anita, Jess and I couldn’t have been more thrilled to have a delicious steak dinner waiting for us at the funky and fun Pentahotel. The general manager greeted us personally when we arrived, wished me a happy birthday and surprised us with a toast of champagne! Though we had been invited to stay the night in this unique hotel with so much attention to detail, I wanted to stick to my original five-country, one-day road trip idea.
After gobbling up the popular and tender steaks and hamburgers, we headed straight back to Alkmaar, Holland in the dark. Mom was an amazing driver the ENTIRE day as always. She ended up breaking her own personal record with 20 hours on the road. Poor Jessica didn’t quite make it 🙂
If you want to give me a belated present, please check out and share my new Patreon page.
Categories: Savannah Grace