I did it! I completed my first Guinness World Record by visiting 12 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 24 hours. A lifelong dream accomplished.
My Spanish buddy Rodrigo, who I met in Myanmar 2 years ago, joined me for this adventure of a lifetime, and we were moving so fast around Europe that we barely had a second to breathe. In total, we went 1,500 kilometers and took 5 trains, 5 buses, 4 metros, 8 taxis, 1 flight and walked/ran more than 10 miles. WOAH!
Here’s a recap video of the most insane day of my life:
We actually completed the task in 20 hours and 2 minutes! Here was our route.
The 12 sites that we visited in order, and the exact time that we arrived, are as follows:
1) 5:00 AM – Collegiate Church & Old Town in Quedlinburg (Quedlinburg, Germany)
2) 7:55 AM – Bauhaus in Weimar & Dessau (Dessau, Germany)
3) 8:40 AM – Garden Kingdom of Dessau (Dessau, Germany)
4) 10:34 AM – Luther Memorials in Wittenburg (Wittenburg, Germany)
5) 11:51 AM – Museum Island, Berlin (Berlin, Germany)
6) 13:28 PM – Palaces & Parks of Berlin & Potsdam (Potsdam, Germany)
7) 15:18 PM – Berlin Modernism Housing Estates (Britz Neighborhood, Berlin)
8) 21:06 PM – Kinderdijk Elshout (Kinderdijk, Netherlands)
9) 21: 41 PM – Van Nelle Factory (Rotterdam, Netherlands)
10) 00:21 AM – Beemster Polder (Middenbeemster, Netherlands)
11) 00:30 AM – Amsterdam Defense Line (Purmerend, Netherlands)
12) 01:02 AM – Canals of Amsterdam (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
For all who followed along my social media posts during the attempt, you already know this was by far the most adrenaline filled trip of my life.
You can take a look at a play-by-play in the log book that I kept:
I’m telling you, from the second that clock struck 5AM on the morning of November 2nd in Quedlinburg, Germany — it was GO GO GO time until we finished 20 hours and 2 minutes later at the canals of Amsterdam. There was no time for fooling around.
On each site, I took a photo holding up a sign saying “UNESCO SITE # _____” followed by the name of the site. Here are all those photos in order, starting with site #1 in the top left and finishing with site #12 in the bottom right.
There were two times where we almost screwed up and therefore wouldn’t have been able to complete this record…
The first time was right after site #6 – The Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam, Germany. We had to get to our next site fast, which was the Horseshoe Housing Estate in the Britz neighborhood of Berlin (about an hour away by train). However, we missed all the buses leaving Sanssouci to the train station and were left stranded on the side of the road. We couldn’t even find a taxi to take us there! We waited for what seemed like an hour, but was really about 30 minutes until we finally hauled down a taxi. If we waited any longer, we may have missed the train from Potsdam to Berlin in time to see the Horseshoe estate.
The second time we almost screwed up was the flight from Berlin to Amsterdam, shortly after visiting the Horseshoe site in Britz… We were flying Easy Jet Airline (a budget carrier), and they have a strict rule of closing the gate 40 minutes prior to the flight departure… Well, we arrived at the airport about an hour before the flight, and were stuck in the long security line. Slightly panicking and sweating from running so much, we had to ask the police officer if we could cut to the very front of security to catch our flight, and he let us go. We then sprinted full speed through the airport to be one of the last ones at our gate. Phew!
Other than that, the hours and hours of planning that I did came through, and things went smoothly for the most part!
Right now, I am in the process of submitting all proof to Guinness World Records for them to verify our record – this includes all time stamped photos, videos, GPS locators, witness statements, etc — and then we should hear back within 8 weeks to see if we got it! I can’t wait to get that official letter in the mail!
My first world record attempt was truly a great experience, an absolute thrill to say the least, and I know this will be the first of many record attempts in the future. I am eyeing the “most countries visited in 24 hours” for my next one. Woohoo!
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