The 24 Hour Challenge.


Me and my brother had a crazy idea that we wanted to have breakfast, lunch and dinner in three different countries in the same day. We didn’t actually think this would ever happen as we just joked about it at first. However, after spending many afternoons looking at flight times, train routes and country borders, we decided that our route would be:

  • Breakfast in London
  • Fly to Amsterdam for Lunch
  • Catch the train to Cologne for dinner
  • Then fly back to London

In reality, picking the route was the easy bit and the fun really began when we started looking at flight times and train times. Trying to tie everything in, allowing just enough time in each country for a little explore, eating, and ‘wiggle’ room incase anything delayed us. Everything had to be booked individually as no package holiday providers would cater for this, I can’t understand why! Eventually we settled for the fact that we would have to travel into London the night before and stay in Cologne the following night, that way we could still complete the challenge in one day while still giving us time to enjoy the trip.

As the morning of the challenge arrived, we rolled out of our hotel in Gatwick at the earthly hour of 5am to head to the airport and have breakfast. At 07:50am our flight took off into Amsterdam and we landed on time and headed into the city before 10am. This gave us some time to grab a much needed coffee and explore the famous canals and streets offered by this unique city. At 12 midday, we found a quirky restaurant on the side of a canal and sat down for lunch. At this point of the trip everything had been going perfectly to plan and we were well on schedule to get our 2pm train to Cologne. Arriving at the train station we quickly found that our train had, for some reason, been cancelled. Nightmare. So after a chat in broken english with a train warden we worked out we had to get a train to Utrecht, have a 1 hour lay-over and then get another train to Cologne. This meant that instead of arriving in cologne at 4:30pm we would not arrive until 6pm. Thank god we allowed for some ‘wiggle’ room and had pre booked a hotel for that night in Cologne, otherwise we would have definitely missed the flight back to London. We eventually made it to Cologne and found a restaurant to have dinner in, the challenge had been completed!

We had initially set out to complete 3 countries, and 3 cities in 24 hours, but with the changed train we actually did 3 countries and 4 cities in 25 hours! Result.

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“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveller is unaware” – Martin Buber

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