Savannah Grace

The Ultimate DUTCH Road Trip – 1 Van, 2 Days, 5 Nationalities, 7 Ladies and 12 Dutch Provinces

As you all know from my recent and exciting ANNOUNCEMENT, Kees and I are finally going to tie the knot but before anything else could be discussed, my amazing friends and family JUMPED on the opportunity to throw me the most AMAZING engagement party EVER!

7 wild aminal onesies

On Saturday October 1st my kitchen was invaded by BEAUTIFUL animals, undoubtedly zoo escapees! I was kidnapped by a magical pink dragon, a cuddly teddy bear, a fabulous penguin, an oinking pig, a fuzzy bunny and a stunning giraffe. And before I knew it I was running out the door in an adorable little duckling onesie adorn with a “BRIDE TO BE” crown, necklace, sash and the a dildo-handled bouquet! I suppose a bachelorette party wouldn’t be a bachelorette party without the crude jokes, sarcastic and dirty “That’s what marriage is all about” jokes, penile straws, a dildo bouqette and drinking games which we had lots of. I was showered with presents – heart-shaped balloons, scented candles, confetti and more but none of this came free. I was given strict rules, tasks and missions I needed to complete before my return to the real world.

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I was given an egg (not boiled) – the KEES egg – which I was to care for and keep safe throughout the ENTIRE journey. I needed to tick off a scavenger hunt which included wearing wooden clogs, eating raw herring Rotterdam style, taking a photo with a windmill, a man 2 metres tall, another bachelorette party (we found two bachelor parties instead!),  a man with the same name as the groom, stand in two countries at once and a bunch more.

 One of the girls in our group is a police officer so it was quite appropriate that she read out the “party rules” before our departure. Some of these “rules” included the forbidden use of the words “toilet” “car” “pee” and “Kees” (You’d be amazed how many times you say those words on a road trip!) violators would receive a penalty point, if we saw a yellow car we had to scream “YELLOW!” and put our head between our legs, last person to do so got a penalty point. Penalty points were tallied on the window, after five penalties points the naughty lady would need to choose between a shot or a dare. 

Throughout the journey we needed to pop the heart-shaped balloons with our bums to retrieve new assignments and games which were written on notes within.

The adventures began even before leaving the driveway when our trusty driver – MOM – lost the car keys….As if planted to boost my ego, I was the hero of the day when I found them squeezed between the seats!

AND OFF WE WENT – 1 van, 2 days, 5 nationalities (Canadian, American, South African, Polish and Dutch), 7 wild animals to visit all 12 Dutch Provinces in 1,145KM!!

There is WAY too much to say so I am going to TRY to summarize with bullet points for each province!

THE ROUTE:

map-party

  1. NOORD-HOLLAND–  Starting point of our journey!

Savannah Grace packed and read

2. FRIESLAND – We crossed the famous Afsluitdijk, which connects Noord-Holland and Friesland provinces. We stopped halfway and stood on the bridge over the highway waving and jumping like the wild animals we were to the cars which honked and waved back heartily. I ticked off the first thing on my scavenger hunt “Find a couple who has been married for 40 years.” I thought this would be the hardest one so was thrilled to be off to such a great start. It was an America couple who proudly told me they had been married for a whopping 47 years and enthusiastically insisted they’d do it all over again! The man laughed when he told us he has a wife, three daughters, nine granddaughters and just one grandson. His advice for a successful marriage? And I quote! “A happy WIFE is a happy LIFE!” I already had the key to marriage in the first province, I couldn’t WAIT to see what else we’d discover in the others.

7 wild animals on the loose

3. GRONINGEN – up in Groningen we had a wonderful Sihpromatum when we missed our turn and had to take an unscheduled exit off the highway in Marum. Our van full of ladies shouted and pointed “CAMELS” to which I insisted “we HAVE to pull over! We have to go there”. Listening to instructions, Mom took us to the privately owned farm where we asked if we could see the camels up close. I was in heaven when we stumbled upon this animal paradise. Horses, donkeys, giant parrots, dogs, cats, camels and even a zebra. The bactrian (two hump) camels were absolutely gorgeous and the largest I’ve ever seen. All of the animals were extremely friendly and not shy in the least. A couple of girls in our group ran away, not daring to come close, others got right up close for slobbery kisses. I’ll never forget feeling those giant teeth brush up against my cheek!!

Shortly after we stopped by a field of beautiful black and white cows to make my “cow friend”. They were very shy at first, and even rejected my grass offerings but once I jumped the fence to join them as an equal, they warmed right up to me! One of them kept licking my arm, her long, sandpapery tongue wrapping around my wrist each time.

On a roll with our animal encounters, we headed next to Pieterburen to visit the seal rehabilitation centre. We ogled and “awed” at the adorable, big eyed and surprisingly attentive seals. We also made friends with the seal mascot “Kees”. We ate our lunch in the town in the company of a traditional windmill and spelled the word LOVE with our bodies, more ticks off my list! OH and I also found real traditional wooden clogs to wear at the camel farm!- We’re on a roll!

4. DRENTHE – We bumped into our first bachelor party at a gas station- Several cars piled high with well-dressed men and one poor sole wearing a prisoner outfit in preparation of a long and suffering future imprisoned in marriage.

Savannah Grace found a new groom

Spotting a local hardware store we made a quick stop to find a “creative groom’s ring”. The shop was JUST about to close but unable to resist seven adorable ladies dressed in animal onesies, they granted us five minutes in the store AND gave us a knife from their kitchen to cut our cake. We scored the perfect 5€ ring, bought it and ran out in about two minutes, to which one of the girls commented, “That must be a world record for shortest time spent in a shop with seven girls and successfully purchasing something too!” “Yeah, but it was a hardware store!” “Haha, good point!” “But I still think we did really well!”

We stopped next in Diever, where we saw Hunebedden, 5000-year-old prehistoric megalithic burial chambers. Hunebedden are a complete mystery, similar to that of Stone Henge. Where on earth did they come from, how did they get there? The Netherlands is a completely flat country with no mountains and finding a pebble is near-impossible, let alone 20 ton boulders! I had personally didn’t realize there was such ancient history here in The Netherlands.

This is when the ladies decided to whip out the surprise PENIS cake and crack open the champagne. Did I mention yet how spoiled and loved they made me feel on this trip!?

While we were enjoying eating our cake by hand, some ladies on bicycles smiled and wished me congratulations and said they just passed our boys at their bachelor party. I had to laugh at the idea that we were several provinces away from my actual bachelor!

5. FLEVOLAND – Province number five, we played pick-up sticks in the middle of the street and ate dinner at a picnic table while watching the sun set over the endlessly flat and refreshing farmland.

6. UTRECHT – We bumped into the second bachelor party in the church-converted-into-bar, Cafe Olivier. This time the bachelor was wearing a “Game Over” shirt where the groom’s foot was attached to ball and chain. So funny how differently men and women interpret marriage! This group of men attempted, several times, to trade bachelor for bachelorette, to which I adamantly refused. They were lucky I didn’t set my undercover cop on them! I don’t want to brag or anything, but our bachelorette party KICKED ASS compared to what they were doing. We also found a man with the same name as the groom, snapped a photo and got another check mark on my scavenger hunt!

7. OVERIJSSEL – Halfway point! We crashed at one of the ladies houses. Already dressed in our pajama onsies, it was an instant slumber party. We were spoiled with a delicious chili meal, drinks, snacks and whatever we could think of. This is the part where I would’ve loved to be able to freeze time, watch movies and play games all night but instead we COLLAPSED quite quickly, already exhausted after Day 1 Bachelorette Party.

8. GELDERLAND – After a delicious home-made quiche breakfast and being royally served our coffee, we headed to a wallaby farm in Klarenbeek. Peeking through the fence at the exotic creatures, I truly felt we’d been travelling around the world through animals. Camels for Asia, zebra for Africa, parrots for South America and wallaby for Australia! We ticked one more thing off our list during a McDonald’s potty stop – take a picture with a man who was at least 2 metres tall.

9. LIMBURD – We attempted to stop and eat fries in Venlo, but it was so busy with bumper to bumper traffic (we think because there was a race happening) so we gave up. Instead, we stopped to check strange sounds coming from “Charlie”, a name given to the van to help us avoid penalty points for saying the word “car”. It didn’t help. This is where we found the tiny white rock that we super glued to Kees’ manly, hardware-store ring. The final touch!  

Kees hardware engagement ring

10. NOORD-BRABANT – One of the highlights and check marks on our scavenger hunt was Baarle-Nassau, a border town divided by The Netherlands and Belgium. Throughout the town you can find markings indicating the border line, giving you the chance to stand in two countries at once! To celebrate this achievement we ordered french fries, Dutch-style with mayonnaise.

11 ZEELAND – We got out in Bruinisse, jumped around in the wind and watched a sea of kite surfers enjoying the last of the beautiful days before winter sets in. Of course I was thinking of Kees here! He is obsessed with kite surfing. Sometimes I think if it were possible, he would run off and marry his kite and board instead of me!

12 ZUID-HOLLAND – The last of the twelve provinces, we strolled along the beach in Scheveningen mesmerized by the abnormally large waves crashing on shore and the white foam blowing in from the ocean and over our feet. Scratching the worst thing off the list, I grabbed an raw, oniony herring by the tail, tilted my head back and ate it Rotterdam style. Barely stomaching the terrible fishy taste, I sat in shock as the rest of my lady friends (except for one!) smacked their lips with enjoyment. Yick!

Savannah Grace eating herring rotterdamstyleAs the sun began to sink quickly in the sky, we pointed towards the bungee tower and shouted “To the tower!” Unfortunately the sunset didn’t amount to much of anything, but climbing the extremely windy tower as the waves crashed violently below us was definitely a thrilling highlight at the end of our journey!

13 – NOORD-HOLLAND – A full circle!

For the last time we exited our trusty vehicle, Charlie, somehow still glowing with happiness and unceasing laughter. Invading Kees after what must’ve been a very peaceful weekend without me, I got down on one knee and officially proposed to him. I know it’s ridiculous, but I was actually NERVOUS. Luckily, the perfect weekend ended with the perfect answer – YES!

What an incredibly successful weekend and bachelorette party! We laughed until we cried and there wasn’t a single silent moment in the car in 36 hours and 1,145 km! I think I speak for all the ladies when I say my cheeks ached from smiling, my throat stung from screaming, my stomach hurt from laughing and I was exhausted for an entire week afterwards!

I could not have IMAGINED a more perfect and fitting bachelorette party that would reflect my passions for travel and for animals (most of which we merely chanced upon!). I want to thank this amazing group of ladies who all worked together to make the most unforgettable weekend of my life. I have been around the world, and seen my share of memorable things, but I have never had a party thrown by friends…. or by anyone as a matter of fact…. that was just for ME, to celebrate ME. I know it sounds a bit vain, but I honestly cannot thank them enough for doing this, it meant the world to me. I never expected I would get a bachelorette party out of the deal. For the first time, I felt like I was the star, rather than the by-standing observer. And for that reason, this will definitely go down in my books as one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life. Thank you for making me feel so spoiled, so SPECIAL and SO LOVED!

If you’re an expat in Holland, or have rented a car during your visit and have a couple days to spare, I highly recommend a 12-province tour! There’s so much to see and do in The Netherlands. Make your own theme and tailor each province stop to your interests. You could make it a tourist/Unesco Site theme, a football stadium theme, a capital city theme or just step in the car and see where the adventure takes you! Heck, you might even be inspired to propose at the end of your journey like I was!

Savannah Grace

PS The idea for our 12-province road trip came about during our 1-Day, 5-Country Birthday Road Trip back in June! PS The idea for our 12-province road trip came about during our 1-Day, 5-Country Birthday Road Trip back in June! 

PPS The KEES egg survived the entire journey, safely tucked away in my bra. Boy am I ever glad he didn’t break! I have officially passed the test to enter marriagehood. 

PPPS This weekend goes to show that you don’t need tons of alcohol or strippers to make a successful bachelor/bachelorette party! What a riot!!!!

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