I was fortunate enough to travel to Zürich, Switzerland for business back in March to attend a 3-day conference and the whole experience was AMAZING! If this was a vacation, I would talk about how much I had spent on travel, accommodations, food, shopping and any other category that was hit. But since this was a work-related trip, this travel diary is going to be about the experience rather than what was spent.
I haven’t been to many European cities, however, the ones I have visited, I’ve noticed that the rooms tend to be on the smaller side. But this room was big and it had a balcony with an amazing view of Lake Zürich – I found myself sitting out there almost every morning. And as a self-proclaimed couch potato, they had a good selection of TV channels too. The artwork throughout ZDC was thought-provoking (Like a piece that’s made out of nails but when you really look at it, it is an outline of a person) and it was a topic of discussion as one of the other attendees was really into art.
From the outside, it looks like a little old three-story building. But when those doors open, it is huge on the inside with a gym and bowling alley and it is modern and houses other properties within the property. The team, from the front desk to the waiters to the people who set up the conference room, are friendly and will make sure your stay is the best stay ever. I also like that it is a 2 minute walk from the Tram.
The conference was from Monday to Wednesday and the organizers provided breakfast and lunch, with dinner being optional.
As dinner was optional, we decided to venture into the city. The first stop was Läderach, where I purchased some chocolate for my family and co-workers. The shop had so many different kinds of chocolate I wasn’t sure what to get. I decided to get the sample boxes that way everyone could try something. Because it was getting late, we didn’t get to see as much of Bahnhofstrasse as I would have liked but we did stumble into Hiltl. This is the world’s oldest vegetarian restaurant and according to Guinness World Records it has been serving vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike with meat-free culinary specialities since 1898. As a meat eater that can’t read swiss german, I didn’t know it was vegetarian. Non the less, the food was pretty good. Was I convinced to turn vegetarian completely? No. But I would order the Penne Sicilian again. It was organic whole wheat pasta with a tomato sauce and eggplant.
I decided to accept this dinner invite because it was at Grain. They planned dinner and a wine tasting – OMG Amazing! Dinner was a buffet style and it was roasted chicken, BBQ Ribs, braised lamb, potato hash, mixed vegetables and mini sweets for desserts. The food was amazing. All the meat was moist and their flavours paired really well with the hash and vegetables. I love lamb and I am very picky about how it is seasoned and cooked, so trust me when I say, it was really good.
This was our last night as a group before we all went out separate ways and in regards to the food and wine – they pulled out all of the stops.
Cream of Cauliflower soup – Smooth and creamy. This wasn’t on the menu, however, I don’t eat raw tuna so they gave me a substitute first course.
Risotto with Baby artichoke, sundried tomatoes and Barba di Frate – I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it.
Duo of Prattigauer veal with purple potatoes, spring vegetables and a port wine jus. – The veal was cooked to perfection, the vegetables we crisp, and the mashed purple potatoes were velvety.
Homemade cheesecake with granola and toffee. – I love cheesecake and I wish I could have gotten a second one.
All the food was really good but my favourite was the veal with potatoes and the cheesecake. The soup came in a close second.
During dinner, I sat next to someone who was a contestant on Masterchef Poland and it was like sitting next to a food critic. He was excited by each meal and talked about how they were created. I had no clue about what he was talking about but it was interesting to listen to him.
The one day I had to explore the city and venture out – it rained. Although this was the last day, it was definitely my favourite. My first stop was head office and I got to meet with people I correspond with. It is nice to be able to put a face to a name and get to know them. Sometimes its hard to get a feel for someone when you are only reading a screen. I also made sure I brought them a rum cake to try because you never go to someone’s house empty-handed. After meeting everyone, I got a quick bite to eat and bumped into Esther (a new friend from the conference) and we signed up for a 4-hour tour of Zürich and the surrounding areas.
During the tour, we walked the charming, cobblestoned streets of Old Town Zürich, got to see the historic guild houses and St. Peter’s church. We stopped off at the harbour for a photo and a view of Lake Zürich. Next, we drove along the “Gold Coast” to Meilen to catch the ferry across Lake Zürich- there were so many wine vineyards that didn’t really look like vineyards along the way.
We get on and off the ferry in a matter of minutes (the ride was short) and off to the valley station of Adliswil we went to catch the aerial cable car to Felsenegg. Up there the view was just breath-taking. If you ever get tired of the view (which I doubt), there is a little restaurant at the top of the mountain that sells food and drinks. We stayed for 30 minutes and then descended the 2,620 ft mountain.
After getting back to the station we grabbed something to eat and headed by to ZDC. While I was packing to head home, Esther was packing to head to Luzern and Colmar (France).
Overall the conference was an amazing learning experience and networking opportunity. I got to meet people from all over. Made friends from Australia, Malaysia and Japan. Got to talk with people who are in junior roles and Heads of Departments. Explored a new place and tried new foods. The only downer of this trip was the return flight and even though it took a little longer to get home I am truly blessed and grateful I was given the opportunity to attend the conference and visit Zürich.
Hopefully, there is a 2019 Conference!