Saturday, November 25th 2017.

Destinations

Britt Vanroelen
SWINGING SWITZERLAND
Wild adventures on the Switzerland Meeting Trophy

 

By Britt Vanroelen, Meeting Planner, American Express Meetings & Events

 

 

switzerland switzerland
switzerland switzerland

 

After months of waiting and looking forward to the Switzerland Meeting Trophy, The Belgian team finally met at Brussels Airport on July 5th to get started on this challenge. Without any knowledge of Switzerland, except for the Lake Geneva, I started this adventure to see if the country and this trophy really were as amazing as I heard before.

Equipped with Belgian cowboy hats, the mark of our team, we flew from Brussels to Zürich with Swiss International Airlines and already got a taste of the Swiss hospitality:
impeccable service, well equipped planes and everything you might need on a 1.5 hour flight.
Arriving at Zürich International airport we met our first contestants, the Dutch team. Even though the race didn’t start yet, we already had a small idea about our competitors.

Dutch switzerland

To get from the airport to our first stop, the Renaissance Tower Zürich, we took the well known Swiss railway and already found out that public transport in Switzerland is not quite the same as we know it in Belgium. Clearly marked platforms with trains arriving on time! This was the first revelation in Switzerland, one of many to come!

After a welcome dinner and breakfast in the meeting areas of the Renaissance, the race really got started. Our team’s motivation became quite clear in the early stages of the contest, so we decided to go for the win, for the full 500%.

Our rally started in Zürich, where we got to know the city trough different challenges. It’s a small and cozy city but with international flair and clean streets. After the challenges we had to get to the lake of Zurich for a trip to the next stop. We nearly missed the boat (this was the first and only time the Belgian team arrived last at one of the check points smile ) but made it after all. After the boat trip, we were wowed by the Churchill train that brought us to Flims and served a meal on board.

The organization chose one of the most beautiful locations available for a “pedallo” race that Belgium didn’t win pedallodespite the unrelenting effort of 2 of our 3 men! You were blocked by one of the other countries boys, otherwise you would have made it first or second!

The Waldhaus Flims Resort & Spa welcomed us for some practical challenges like horse shoe throwing, arrow- and bow shooting and last but not least a cooking challenge. We got to know the local, but already famous dish CAPUNS! The Dutch speaking part of our team had a lot of fun with different word plays but unfortunately the French speaking part didn’t always understand why we sometimes broke down in hysterical laughter because of this word. Anyway, CAPUNS is the dish to eat when you’re visiting Flims!

The Waldhaus Flims  Resort & Spa is still one of those hotels that can really WOW people, all meeting planners were impressed by it, and let’s be honest: we are not the easiest people to please. The resort is located on top of a hill surrounded by beautiful and big gardens and offers something for everyone. With a big spa, two 4-star properties, one 5-star deluxe property, different meeting spaces and restaurants, the Waldhaus can welcome big groups for a meeting combined with some skiing or hiking as well as families looking for some rest. And with the big spa, even delegates not very keen on outdoor activities will be pleased!

arche petanque

Another wonderful evening was planned for us on top of a mountain in the typical mountain restaurant “Curnius”. The aperitif was a traditional cheese fondue, which was so good that some of us didn’t need the next 3 courses on the menu to leave with a full stomach.
Exhausted, most of us went straight to bed to be up and running for the last rally day!

On this last day, we crossed Switzerland in luxury cars from Flims to St. Gallen, with a stop in Appenzell. I would like to express a big thank you to the ‘VW Convertible team’ for giving me the most painful stomach muscles EVER from laughing.
The complete Belgian team arrived safe and well in St. Gallen without extra costs to the cars smile.

St. Gallen was a discovery as well: once again a nice, clean and very cozy city. The highlight of this day was without pigany doubt the last pig race. Unfortunately we bet on the wrong pigs, preventing us from  finishing in the top 3. But we had a lot of fun with them. While they were preparing themselves for the race, we were welcomed with beer und Bratwurst. And when the pigs began racing it was clear that number 1 absolutely didn’t deserve its name! I still blame him for our loss in points.

germanyWe ended the last racing day with a fantastic dinner and party at an amazing venue, the Pfalzkeller. A hidden treasure in the center of St. Gallen, perfect for all events; from seminars to gala dinners.

On Sunday morning we were  spoiled one last time with an immense brunch before we headed back to Belgium. To give you an idea: it was the first time in my life I ate mini egg rolls for breakfast.

After this whole story about the Switzerland meeting trophy you might start to wonder if this trip was also useful for us professionally. The answer to that question is definitely YES. You get to know a country in a completely different way than you would when participating in a regular famtrip. I didn’t know a lot about Switzerland but now I am more than convinced about its meetings & events possibilities. All hotels we visited were very well equipped and prepared to welcome big corporate groups either for meetings or incentives.

I would also like to point out that if we look at the level of organization of this trip, I am sure that all partners from the Switzerland Convention & Incentive Bureau (SCIB) are of the highest quality and will make sure that your event will be a success.

And last but most definitely not least I would like thank Myriam Winnepenninckx and the SCIB for taking us to Switzerland as well as our complete Belgian team for this great experience. I got to know a lot of amazing people on these 4 days and the only thing left to say about the Switzerland meeting trophy is the following:

“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.”
William A. Foster

belgium

For those interested in next year’s Switzerland Meething Trophy taking place on 4 – 7 July 2013, send a mail to Myriam Winnenpenninckx, on myriam.winnepenninckx@switzerland.com

 

Info:
Switzerland Convention & Incentive Bureau
Phone 02 - 345 83 57
e-mail myriam.winnepenninckx@switzerland.com
www.MySwitzerland.com/meetings

 

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