June 2017

The perfect weekend getaway: Venice

The perfect winter getaway: Venice // Miss Sweet Nothings

The best way to describe Venice is beautifully melancholy; full of tiny streets, ancient buildings and its famous canals. Here is my guide to a magical winter getaway in Venice.

Friday afternoon

On arriving it’s time to check in to the hotel; I recommend Hotel Al Codega. It’s right in the centre of Venice but is quite affordable, and a really lovely hotel to boot! Then it’s time to go out!

The perfect winter getaway: Venice // Miss Sweet Nothings

We’ll save the proper exploring for tomorrow so tonight we’re just going to walk down to the famous Ponte di Rialto. Like everywhere else in Europe there are some lovely markets at Christmas in the square near the bridge. I would recommend the Italian pastries - they’re a lot sweeter than I was used to (as an Australian) but they were very delicious.

After some wandering it’s time for dinner at Osteria Enoteca San Marco and boy are you in for a treat. The food is traditional northern Italian fare, though usually with a twist. I had an incredible cacio e pepe (a dish I have a mild obsession with) and my husband still raves about the tiramasu. The wine list is extensive but very well priced - don’t be afraid to ask for a recommendation!

The perfect winter getaway: Venice // Miss Sweet Nothings

After dinner you can head to bed OR head down to the Piazza San Marco for a night time stroll. It is both creepy and beautiful at night. Our night walk was on a misty night and it felt very mysterious; I really felt like I had been transported back to the 1800’s. I kept expecting ladies in Victorian gowns to sweep out of the mist.

Saturday

Rise and shine! Time for the first full day of your adventure in Venezia! The breakfast in the hotel is really yummy, so feel free to have breakfast there - or head out to find a cafe and enjoy a latte.

When you’re fueled up (and if you’re like me, caffeinated) it’s time to start the day. First stop is the Palazzo Ducale; the palace of the Doge who once ruled Venice (and large chunks of Italy and Europe). I cannot explain to you how incredible this visit will be - it is truly one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. The Hall of the College literally cannot be captured in pictures.

The perfect winter getaway: Venice // Miss Sweet Nothings

After marvelling at the Palazzo all morning it’s time for lunch. I know most people would urge you to “get away from the tourists areas” to find something to eat I disagree - at least where lunch and piazzas in Italy are concerned. My favourite way to eat lunch in Italy was outside looking out over a piazza. And there really isn’t a much more spectacular piazza than the Piazza San Marco in Venice. My one suggestion is to go to the left of the Basilica San Marco - the restaurants there are a lot less pricey (though still delicious).

The perfect winter getaway: Venice // Miss Sweet Nothings

After lunch go for a walk along the promenade (on the other side of the Palazzo) to help work off the pizza or pasta you had for lunch and enjoy the beautiful views. When you get to the end you can loop through the park and through the suburb of Castello (where most actual Venetians live now) on your way back to the hotel.

After a few hours relaxing back at the hotel (and maybe a few drinks in the hotel bar) it’s time to head out for dinner at Ristorante Trattoria Cherubino. It’s a really lovely and cozy restaurant that does amazing risotto (and I say this as a card carrying risotto snob).

Sunday

Sunday is going to have a slower vibe; but Venice is the perfect place for a more leisurely day. After breakfast it’s time to head out and wander the streets. It’s remarkably difficult to get lost in Venice, even with all the tiny side streets and back alleyways. Having the Grand Canal running through the centre of Venice is a great way to keep yourself centred. Plus you have the train station to the north and the ocean to the south to help keep you oriented.

The perfect winter getaway: Venice // Miss Sweet Nothings

If you do want to learn a little more about the history of Venice you can head down to the Maritime Museum. Venice built its fortune on sea trade and it is truly fascinating to learn more about.

And if you’re wondering where to have lunch - head back to the Piazza San Marco or take a chance on one of the many restaurants you wander past (Italy is the only place in the world where you can feel pretty safe about getting a good meal from almost anywhere you go). Either way; a great way to end your trip is a cocktail at the famous Harry’s Bar.


The perfect winter getaway: Lucerne

Perfect winter weekend - Lucerne // Miss Sweet Nothings

Growing up I never really got the obsession with Switzerland that movies and TV seemed to have. Now having been there twice I can completely understand the obsession. Lucerne in Switzerland is hand on my heart the most stunning place I have ever visited. So come along with me as we spend 24 wintery hours in Lucerne.

4:00PM: On arrival it’s time to check in to Hotel De La Paix. It’s away from the tourist area of Lucerne but is a lovely hotel - very cozy and if you get lucky you might get a room with a balcony.

5:00 PM: Once you’re all settled in it’s time to head out to explore the town. You’re going to be heading towards Lake Lucerne for an afternoon stroll along the promenade. Don’t worry too much about what path to follow - if anything getting a little lost is a good thing - you never know what you might find. The picture below was taken when we stumbled on a lookout above a school car park. This is part of the magic of Lucerne. When you get to the lake it’s time to wander and amaze at how beautiful Lucerne is.

Perfect winter weekend - Lucerne // Miss Sweet Nothings

7:00 PM: Now that’s your thoroughly chilled walking along to the lake it’s dinner time. Dinner is at Shamrock Pub. It’s the perfect place for dinner on a wintery night. It’s nothing fancy but the beer is affordable (I recommend the Feldschloschsen beer) and the food is hearty. What really makes this place a great one is the atmosphere. It’s cozy, cheerful and the staff welcoming.

10:00 PM: It’s time to wend your way home and go to bed - though I’ll understand if you want to stay later.

The next day

6:00 AM: If you can drag yourself out of bed at this early hour you are in for a treat. The sunrise over Lake Lucerne is worth the early start and the trek back down to the foreshore.

Perfect winter weekend - Lucerne // Miss Sweet Nothings

8:00 AM: After your early start it’s time for breakfast. The hotel does have a really good breakfast (and it’s normally included in the price). Or you can go on an adventure to one of the cafes in the area.

Perfect winter weekend - Lucerne // Miss Sweet Nothings

10:00 AM: Today is all about the Old Town of Lucerne. If you’re lucky there will be some Christmas markets up and running where you can get some delicious treats from Switzerland and all over the world. The old town is incredibly stunning, and it is lovely to wander around (and across the famous bridge of course).

Perfect winter weekend - Lucerne // Miss Sweet Nothings
Perfect winter weekend - Lucerne // Miss Sweet Nothings

12:00 PM: When we visited last time we had an amazing lunch in a traditional Swiss restaurant. The waiter was incredibly friendly and funny, and the rosti was delicious (and enormous). I wish I could tell you the name of this lovely place, but after an embarrassing amount of searching on Google Maps I cannot remember the name. If someone wants to fly me to Lucerne so I can work it out I am happy to do so. Otherwise all I can say is take advantage of Trip Advisor and find a good Swiss restaurant to visit. If you’re going to Switzerland you should take advantage of the awesome (if very filling) food.

3:00 PM - Assuming you can still move after your lunch it’s time to take another walk along the lake before heading back to the hotel. If you can tolerate the thought of food there is a lovely chocolate store across the road from the hotel called Bachmann. It also does coffee and hot chocolate and is a great place to end your trip to Lucerne.


The Perfect Weekend Getaway: Mclaren Vale, South Australia

If you love wine and good food you are going to LOVE this weekend adventure.

Weekend in Mclaren Vale // Miss Sweet Nothings

Friday afternoon

There are lots of accommodation options in Mclaren Vale but my personal preference is for this Air B&B. Regardless of your accommodation choice, once you’re settled it’s time to head into town for dinner. On a Friday night you really can’t go past the local Mclaren Vale Pub. Call ahead to book a table at their bistro and be prepared for a healthy serving of country charm alongside their buffet offerings of roasted potato and salad. The food is hearty and the wine selection is impressive.

Weekend in Mclaren Vale // Miss Sweet Nothings

Saturday

Rise and shine! Time to head out for breakfast at Blessed Cheese. You’ll need to stock up on your energy - you’ve got a busy day ahead! After breakfast take a moment to peruse the amazing cheese selection (and maybe pick up a few cheeses to have later).

Next it’s onto some wineries (I mean Mclaren Vale is one of the premier wine regions in the world after all). I cannot stress enough the importance of having a designated driver who isn’t going to drink. If you aren’t wanting to do that (or don’t have a car) might I suggest Chook’s Little Winery Tours? It’s a fantastic business and you can set your own itinerary.

Weekend in Mclaren Vale // Miss Sweet Nothings

First stop on the winery tour is Maxwell Winery. Although they are a winery Maxwell is known for it’s mead (and they make some killer cocktails with it). Next up is Gemtree Winery to enjoy the incredible view, sample some wine and maybe have a mid morning cheese platter (I mean it’s the responsible thing to do when you’re drinking wine all day, right?). After this it’s time to head to Lazy Ballerina, and if you didn’t enjoy a cheese platter at Gemtree you have to try one at Lazy Ballerina. Though of course there isn’t any rule that says you can’t both!

After your lunch break it’s time to head to Battle of Bosworth for some beautiful organic wine. Last on today’s adventure is Ekhidna Wines in their brand new location! Ekhidna does amazing wine and beer and will always have a special place in my heart as their original cellar door is our wedding location!

Now I’m sure after such a full day you’re really looking forward to a nice, filling meal, and that’s where Oscar’s comes in. You can relax inside or outside and the food is the perfect hearty end today (though maybe hold off on the pizza - I promise it will be worth it when you see what’s on the itinerary for Sunday).

Weekend in Mclaren Vale // Miss Sweet Nothings

Sunday

After our adventure yesterday Sunday has a much slower pace. No doubt there will be a few headaches after all the wine yesterday, and Bracegirdle's is the best place to go to help combat that. I would recommend the full breakfast (there’s a meat based and vegetarian option) and some of their amazing coffee (or if you feel up to it - a hot chocolate).

As for lunch… Well remember how I said not to get pizza at Oscars? That’s because the best place to have lunch on a lazy Sunday is Pizzateca. You do have to book ahead to get a table because it is very popular (and trust me, that’s justified). It really is the perfect place to relax on a Sunday before heading back home after a weekend away!.