Author Archives: Andi Perullo de Ledesma

About Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

Traveling Through the Most Peaceful Country in the World: Your Icelandic Journey

Head to the top of the world for a truly magical experience in Iceland! The country boasts some of the most pristine locales in the world with plenty of culture thrown in for good measure. Whether you are heading over there with family or just by yourself, Iceland will have you begging to stay.

Reykjavik

Home to the warmest people you might ever meet, the country’s capital is a stunning blend of the cosmopolitan and the old world with plenty left over from the time of the Vikings. Make sure to start your exploration in the past as ‘Old Reykjavik’ overflows with living historical elements. It is safe to say you will not bump into a Viking, but you definitely will not be disappointed with the country’s first Parliament, its main Cathedral, and plenty more sitting in this small slice of the city. Do not forget to head over to the museum after to become well-acquainted with Iceland. Stop in at the Harpa Concert Hall for a breath-taking performance or just gaze at its glistening façade.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik, Iceland, Europe by Johannes Martin

Heimaey

Probably what inspired ‘How to Train Your Dragon’, Heimaey was birthed by volcanos and this is ingrained in its personality. It looks something of a fortress with the jagged rocks left over from the lava and the port can be reached by sailing through towers of the same rock. It is home to volcano Eldfell, which created the ‘Pompeii of the North’ and is just a quick hike away from town.

Heimaey, Iceland

Heimaey, Iceland, Europe by Thomas Quine

Akureyri

It is entirely mind-boggling that a city could house botanical gardens a few miles from the Arctic Circle, but Akureyri does just this. A lively place with everything you might need from modern society, it hosts winter carnivals, picnic spots, museums, and more. Dip into Iceland’s religious side with a visit to Akureyrarkirkja. The Cathedral looms over the city and within it houses a mix of traditional Christian and Icelandic customs with a ship hovering over the pews. A spectacular sight that should be on everyone’s travel planner is the Goðafoss falls which run through a lava field.

Akureyri, Iceland

Akureyri, Iceland, Europe by Bjarki Sigursveinsson

Ísafjörður

This whaling town lets you immerse yourself in true Icelandic culture with its charming little city center. The city is surrounded by peaks and fjords ensuring it is a beautiful trekking starting point, making it a must in an adventurer’s Iceland itinerary planner.

Ísafjörður, Iceland

Ísafjörður, Iceland, Europe by Helgi Halldórsson

Höfn

Höfn can be reached via a bus ride through the exquisite wilderness and is well worth the trip. Head down to the waterfront to witness the heart of their industry, fishing, at play. You can also get a glimpse of the seamen’s monument. Not only is it picturesque, but it is a great chance to learn about the town’s culture. The Gamlabúð visitor center is a must-see with plenty of exhibits and other interesting displays.

Höfn, Iceland

Höfn, Iceland, Europe by Andrew Bowden

Driving through the Icelandic countryside as you make your way from place to another promises to be one of the most amazing experiences you will ever have. After all, the country is home to the famed northern lights. Fill up your Iceland trip planner and go to the best of places!

Florence, Italy

#WanderlustWednesday

The truth is: I am a travel photojournalist that does not travel. I have a lot of excuses as to why I stopped traveling for now, however the good news is that I will begin again soon. Just this past week, my husband and I celebrated our 5th anniversary in Highlands, North Carolina at the gorgeous Half-Mile Farm. That was my first trip in two years!

On the trip, I thought about the thousands upon thousands of photos I have taken over the last decade in over fifty different countries. It made me sad to think that most will never get shown. Then it occurred to me that I should start participating in #WanderlustWednesday. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you can start looking forward to a post every Wednesday with a photo from a destination that I have visited in the past. Hopefully, the picture will inspire you to book a trip somewhere. Even though I have put a pause on travel, I still think it is one of the greatest things about life!

The first photo I will be posting was from a trip to Florence, Italy. You can read more about the story behind the picture here.

Florence, Italy

Five Turkish Sweets To Try When Holidaying In Turkey

Turkey is not a destination that is a hard sell for anyone with the travel bug. It is a country packed with superb beaches, astonishing natural landscapes, numerous historical sites, and a cultural scene that makes you feel at home from the moment you arrive. That is before we have even gotten to the desserts!

Baklava

If you have heard of one Turkish sweet then it will be baklava. What you might not know is that there are many different types. The most well-known variety combines sweet filo pastry with chopped pistachios or walnuts and plenty of sugar syrup. You will find baklava everywhere you go in Turkey, but just remember that it must be eaten fresh. If you want to try making it at home, here is a great recipe.

Baklava

Kaymakli Kayisi

Kaymakli kayisi is a bit of a mouthful — in every sense of the word. This gorgeous traditional dessert is composed of dried apricots soaked in sugar syrup and stuffed with crushed pistachios and kaymak, which is a rich Turkish cheese that can be substituted for clotted cream or mascarpone. If you would like to try it yourself without booking a flight to Turkey, check out this recipe.

Revani

If you love baking, you will definitely want to sample some revani, a beautifully moist semolina sponge cake, that is flavored delicately with lemon, orange zest, and sugar syrup. You will find revani all over Turkey, but you can also whip it up fairly easily yourself, using this recipe.

Revani

Asure

Asure or Ashure is one of those dishes that travelers either love or hate. Nicknamed “Noah’s Pudding”, the dessert is essentially a porridge made with grains, fresh and dried fruits, beans, and, nuts. Common ingredients include chickpeas, haricot beans, figs, apricots, and raisins. Try it out yourself with this recipe.

Kunefe

The central ingredient of kunefe is an unsalted cheese called hatay, which can only be found in Turkey (mozzarella comes fairly close). Filo pastry is soaked in sugar syrup and used to coat the hatay, and the whole thing is then fried and topped with pistachios, kaymak, or ice cream. Make it yourself using this great recipe.

Whether you are considering Turkey holidays to Marmaris or Olu Deniz, absorb the aromas and flavors of this fascinating country by dining in local restaurants. You will often find that meals are good value for money, just make sure you leave space for dessert! And if you cannot make it this year, you have always got our recipes for some home baking.

Images Mike Feist and fugzu used under Creative Commons license.

Half-Mile Farm

Andi’s Pick: Half-Mile Farm

Half-Mile Farm: Highlands, North Carolina

Half-Mile Farm

First Impression

Half-Mile Farm had a huge reputation to live up to, as we had previously visited its sister properties Old Edwards Inn and Spa and 200 Main and had fallen in love with them both. Sure enough, the second we drove up its driveway we instantly knew we were in love yet again. This lovely country inn surrounded by nature is that kind of place where you relax as soon as you see it. The hilly expanse of green lawn welcomes you, the main historic farmhouse reveals itself in the distance, and along the other side of the long drive Apple Lake glistens.

Half-Mile Farm

Location

Highlands, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, feels as though it has been preserved in time. Take a walk along Main Street and you will find yourself amidst first-class shopping, dining, and culture. Since it is surrounded by the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains and a temperate rainforest, you will also encounter some of the most beautiful natural attractions that the Unites States has to offer ranging from pristine lakes, rivers, and waterfalls.  This rural community deserves its reputation as being one of America’s prettiest small towns.

Highlands, North Carolina

The Room

Rustic quaintness is what you will find at the Half-Mile Farm. Every single detail is accounted for. Guests’ minds are at ease and their spirits lifted with its casual elegance, luxurious amenities, and impressive service. In your stunning room, you will be enveloped by period antiques with European bedding and linens. Our suite had a sitting area with a gorgeous stacked stone fireplace that I do not believe we turned off once while we were there. As well as a screened in balcony, that we would sit on while drinking our mid-afternoon coffee made from the Keurig in our room. Guests can also enjoy HDTV with satellite and DVD, free wifi, and telephones with voicemail and data port.

Half-Mile Farm

Half-Mile Farm

Half-Mile Farm

Half-Mile Farm

The Bathroom

The spacious en suite bathroom is a traveler’s dream-come-true. The Molton Brown bath products complement the lavish Frette towels perfectly. The oversized jacuzzi is our favorite part of the bathroom. Additionally, there is also a large separate shower.

Half-Mile Farm

Half-Mile Farm

The Extras

Surrounded by fourteen acres of fields, forests, and streams, Half-Mile Farm graces the land with beautiful patios, courtyard and grounds, a six acre lake, and two stocked ponds. There are canoes along the shores for guests to enjoy a soothing paddle and a hiking trail if you feel the need to be at one with nature. If you prefer a pool, the property offers a heated one with a stunning view.

Half-Mile Farm

In the evenings, Half-Mile Farm puts out complimentary hors d’oeuvres, wine, and soft beverages to enjoy. There are also homemade cookies to eat during any time of the day.

Half-Mile Farm

Your stay at Half-Mile Farm includes room signing privileges at all venues of Old Edwards Inn and Spa, including Madison’s Restaurant, Hummingbird Lounge, Acorns Boutique, and Old Edwards Club. Half-Mile Farm guests are welcomed at Old Edwards Inn fitness center and at Art’s at the Lodge, a coffee shop and cocktail bar at Old Edwards Inn.

Why It Is Andi’s Pick

Not only was I so utterly impressed with Half-Mile Farm that I had this strong urge to extend our stay, but the chef-prepared breakfast that begins each day for every guest is so delicious that I cannot stop thinking about it!

Half-Mile Farm

Half-Mile Farm

Half-Mile Farm

Social Media

Kids Jump

Worldwidekidsco: The Luxury Resort Childcare Experts

Kids Play

Worldwidekids (WWK) is a professional, international childcare provider company, that takes care of children between 4 months to 17 years of age the fun, safe, and educational way!

WWK have four fundamentals when it comes to your child’s care: Fun, Development, Learn, and Culture. With commitment to the highest levels of childcare services, WWK provides well-rounded care that does not only ‘occupy’ children, but engages them with group activities, crafts, physical exercise, encouraging team building, and social skills, as well as incorporating a learning curve at various stages of the care taking.

Alphabet

WWK found the strong correlation between tourism and childcare, identifying the luxury family resort hotels as a market. They understand the strong need for the adults of family-group guests of resort hotels to relax without having to worry about their child’s schedule and similarly the children’s’ desire to channel their incessant energy. And, with the four aforementioned fundamentals being at the crux of their childcare programmes, WWK has succeeded in establishing 26 Kids Clubs in luxurious hotel resorts across Asia, North America, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean with the most clubs located within beautiful Greece.

Kids Painting

Hence, WWK has come to provide a set of very specialised services pertaining to childcare at luxury resorts. They will offer the resort local specific facilities development services that make each club environment fit for purpose; these include Health & Safety audits and recommendations, providing consultation regarding each specific club’s design for optimisation of space, as well as options to furbish the club with high quality childcare equipment. This means that every Kids Club that has been facilitated by WWK is sure to have the most professional of childcare environments. Being leaders of childcare services, WWK go further with childcare services development, aiming to improve the quality of services provided on an on-going basis. This includes four elements that form the basis of a dynamic and sustainable service that resorts and their guests can really trust:

  • WWK devises unique childcare concepts for each club, tailoring them to suit each resort’s personality and target group.
  • They have clearly defined standards of procedure to minimise risks and ensure best practices.
  • They have a kids Monitoring System that allows resorts to manage childcare staff.
  • Kids Club can directly book easily and hassle-free.
  • All childcare professionals undergo a meticulous and accredited childcare training program that also includes first aid and behaviour management among others.

Kids Race Car

The WWK childcare approach is characterized by safety, fun, and learning for the children. This means priceless peace of mind for parents. Their childcare programs are well-thought out, with lots to entice and intrigue children, as well as stimulating their development and social skills.

The described WWK practices have lead to very high levels of quality and service flexibility in childcare, so you know that when it comes to family holidays, seeing a WWK partnership at a resort should be synonymous with top-tier childcare services. Parents can thoroughly relax and enjoy their holiday too, while the kids are off learning in play.

Kids Jumping

Given the above, it goes without saying that the WWK Kids clubs get very good reviews; as if by rule, guests will compliment the staff on what a great relationship they cultivated with each child, the variation of the programs, the flexibility, and the freedom given to the children themselves.

For example, childcare professional Louiza at Crete’s Elounda Gulf Villas & Suites has been praised by name mention for her warm personality and kindness, and for thinking outside the box and tailoring activities to suit individual children. This showcases another great fact about WWK; when staff are chosen, they are selected in conjunction with their caring and nurturing nature in addition to their professional experience and skills.

Kids Play

This means that guests should not be nervous about trusting their child in the hands of WWK experts and should, therefore, not hesitate to book their holiday in any luxury resort that has a partnership with WWK. The most recent partnership established is with the much anticipated Miraggio Thermal Spa Resort, due to open in the beginning of June in the beautiful Halkidiki region of Greece.

Kids Football