When your friends settle down in a new country, a new travel opportunity opens up for you. And what do you do with it? You grab it with both hands, apply for a visa and go crash at their place ofcourse! So when Navdeeps (aka Robin) friend Samarth (aka Sam) and his wife Rashmi settled in Amsterdam while on an office assignment, Robin decided he wanted to spend his birthday with them! Sam being the hobo that he is, chalked out an itinerary for a roadtrip of a lifetime! Obviously, this was meant to be a birthday surprise for Robin! The only tip Robin got was that he had to pack light and he needed to carry his super cool camera to capture moments!
From L to R: Robin, Rashmi, Sam
With his Schengen visa in hand and a rucksack on his back, Robin landed at the Schiphol airport with hopes that the least he will get to do on his birthday is cut a cake and chill out with his friends. The day he landed, there was a lot of catching up to do. The three friends kept chatting till late in the night. Before heading off to bed, Robin was informed that he needed to get ready early the next morning as they were going to explore the city.
When the next day dawned, Robin found himself in a rent a car showroom with Sam and Rashmi. He expected the car to be a regular car in which they would be exploring Amsterdam. How wrong was he! Sam had rented not just A car! He had rented THE BMW series 5 xDrive 535d! This was just the beginning of an epic roadtrip, and Robin was still oblivious to it! The first stop they made was at a gurudwara (temple) in Amsterdam. After taking blessings of the divine, Robin, who was suffering from jet lag, dozed off in the car expecting his friends to wake him up at the next tourist attraction. It was only when he woke up a couple of hours later that he realized they had long left the hustle bustle of Amsterdam and were now in the serene countryside. And yet he was clueless. Rashmi and Sam refused to tell him anything. They even threatened to blindfold him if he asked any more questions! It was when they were nearing the check post at an international border that he found out they were entering Germany! Surprise!!! yelled Sam and Rashmi at the top of their voices, heres wishing you a perfect birthday in Europe!
After crossing over to Germany, they spent half a day in Cologne exploring the magnificent Castles and Bridges and then headed over to Frankfurt for a night cap. The next day, after breakfast, Robin was given a hint. Remember fairytales? Sam asked. And then they drove down to a place where you would expect Cinderella to run down the stairs or Rapunzel to let down her hair from the window The Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria. Situated on the border of Germany and Austria, this Castle left them spellbound. A quick drive and a country border later, they were in Austria having lunch. After which, they crossed another border, entered Switzerland and headed towards Zermatt. Although it was not ski season, they had fun visiting the Matterhorn Mountain. That night, Sam ticked off one item off his bucket list- 3 meals in 3 different countries! Breakfast in Germany, lunch in Austria and dinner in Switzerland!
Must Try : Frankfurt Itinerary 6 Days
Still clueless about the next destination, Robin drove around with Sam and Rashmi for around 894 kilometres till they entered Girona, Spain! Here, he was given a one word clue, High! Robin had all sorts of wild and crazy thoughts running through his mind! But reality turned out to be crazier and wilder! SkyDive!!! How many people get to boast of jumping off an aeroplane?!
And yet, they were not done with Spain! By this time, Robin had surrendered himself and did not even ask for clues! He knew this was going to be one hell of a trip! Next destination on their roadtrip was Valencia, Spain. And they had only one thing in mind- getting down and dirty at the La Tomatina festival! Even today Robin brags about the new Spanish friends he made at the festival. After these two exciting events, the three friends spent the remaining time chilling on the beaches of Costa Brava.
Just when Robin had started dreaming about the next destination, he was informed that the roadtrip was over and they were going to head back to Amsterdam. Having packed their bags, they started their return journey. In the car, Robin sat browsing photos in his camera. And all throughout, he had a big smile on his face. While he was busy reminiscing the last few days, a milestone caught his eye. Paris 56 kilometres! Surprise screamed Sam and Rashmi again! They explored the Fashion Capital in the afternoon and were mesmerized by the beauty of Eiffel Tower at night. After a nightcap in Paris, this time, for real, the three friends left for Amsterdam.
While on the way, they spent a couple of hours in Brussels, Belgium. By evening, they were sitting by the canals in Amsterdam remembering and laughing at the fun moments during their roadtrip. It was an awe-inspiring journey for them. One where they witnessed natures unquantifiable beauty and experienced adrenalin pumping through their veins.
Robin did indeed have a memorable birthday away from home. One which he keeps talking about at every party he goes to! He travelled a lot after his stint in Europe as well, but this, the ultimate roadtrip with his best friends is the one he fondly claims to be a journey of a lifetime. As they say, it is the journey, not the destination that matters.
Having completed their office assignment, Sam and Rashmi are back in India and are busy exploring the nooks and crannies of the country. They are however, planning on conquering the UK next! It is the unexplored that calls out to them, lures them and shows them magical kingdoms. By travelling, they are living their fairytale.
As told to Niyati Shinde
By Samarth, Rashmi and Navdeep