Welcome to my new Stylish Traveler series.
(In honor of #FollowFriday, I’ll be posting occasional Friday Q&A’s with bloggers, artists, interior designers or other creative types. )
This week, say “Hello” to food writer and travel blogger Fiona Ryan. Fiona won a 2014 Food Writing award from Food Bloggers Australia, regularly speaks on her favorite topics on 4BCNewsTalk 111 in Brisbane and founded the A-Z Guidebook Travel Link Up for travel bloggers.
Here’s what Fiona had to say:
Check Out This Interview with Fiona Ryan of Tiffin
Q: Hi Fiona! I love your blog. I see that you’re a foodie who loves to travel. What’s the last trip you took?
A: I just got back from Sydney where I spent the weekend with my brother, who lives there. He was house sitting in Surry Hills which is an inner city suburb that’s full of great restaurants and still quite gritty and yet to be fully gentrified. There was lots of eating and drinking but not much sight seeing as I’m a frequent visitor. I did take the time to visit the State Library of NSW to check out their current exhibitions and to gaze upon their wonderful reading room, lined from floor to ceiling with bookcases and an enormous skylight above. Highly recommended.
Reading Room at NSW State Library in Sidney, Australia
Q: When you think of iconically stylish travel, what comes to mind?
A: Art Deco travel posters, dressing for dinner, brandy in the lounge…. The Golden Age of Travel – the 1920’s. Cars and planes were starting to make an impact but train travel and cruise liners were the preferred method to make a journey.
The Golden Age of Travel
Q: Have you ever booked a villa, apartment or other vacation rental online? What was it like?
A: There’s nothing quite like starting a conversation with ‘When we were staying in our villa in Tuscany…’ but indeed, we did. Mr Tiffin and I were travelling through the UK and Europe for 18 months and caught up with my brother for a week, in the tiny village of Gaiole in Chianti. It was an online rental that wasn’t exactly simple to organise given they didn’t take Paypal and we didn’t speak Italian or have a European chequebook but in the end we worked it out and yes, it was fabulous. Incidentally, one of the ways we funded this trip was via online home exchange websites which allowed us to stay in Spain, the UK, Switzerland and Croatia amongst other places.
Fiona made these lovely Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms while staying at a Tuscan Villa – Click Through for the Recipe
Q: What’s the most decadent, memorable or stylish travel souvenir you’ve ever come home with?
A: As the years have passed, the souvenirs have dwindled so I can travel light or spend my money on other things. Having said that, there are some souvenirs I will never part with. I bought a beaded Masai bridal necklace as well as other Masai beads and earrings. They are wonderfully colourful and were very reasonably priced but cost a fortune to frame when we got back home. They had pride of place on our lounge room wall and in our new renovation, I already know they will have their own wall in the dining room.
Fiona captured this beautiful image in Masai Mara, Kenya
Q: Have you ever been inspired to visit a place after reading a book or watching a movie?
A: Though not exactly a movie, I watched a series on TV called ‘Feast Bazaar’ which took viewers to various parts of the Middle East including the famous Bakdash Ice Cream Salon in Damascus, Syria. As soon as I saw that episode, I knew I had to go. Thus, an entire plan to travel to the Middle East was hatched with our friends, all because of an ice cream shop. It was a fantastic journey through Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Turkey. Bakdash has left Damascus due to the ongoing civil war and has now set up shop in Jordan, where it serves homesick expats the same chewy ice cream. Of course, it’s unlikely I’ll ever get a chance to re-visit Syria so I’m grateful that a TV show opened my eyes to a world I may otherwise have never visited.
The Bakdash Ice Cream Bar in Damascus Syria, as it appeared in 2011
Q: So where are you off to next?
A: I travel regularly to Canberra for work so for me, it almost doesn’t count. Our next big trip is Japan in mid 2016 and we are certainly keen. Usually we try to take a couple of holidays a year but we are renovating our house so there’s not a lot of money in the travel budget so we have itchy feet. Hence the trip to Sydney! Bali is also on the cards.
For more from Fiona, check out her blog, which is called Tiffin. (Do you know what a tiffin is? She’ll tell you.) The link to Fiona’s blog is here: www.tiffinbitesized.com.au.