Viatrix, an odd name for a web site but not when you get to know Stephanie. It means ‘female traveler’ in Latin. Hailing from Seattle, Stephanie Dosch has made her home in Madrid since 2005. Along with being a travel writer, translator, and English teacher, she has married a Spanish man and acquired his family in the process. Stephanie has also been a guide for Rick Steve’s Europe, Through The Back Door. As a bird watcher and lover of classical movies, she works on creating the perfect tortilla. Check out her website.
Interview by Nancy Todd
Please describe your role with your site.
Founder and (so far) sole contributor. It’s basically a place for me to share personal stories about my travels and expat experiences.
l. What is the most satisfying part of your work?
Clicking “Publish!” Sometimes the posts write themselves and sometimes it’s like pulling teeth, so I definitely get that sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. I also love hearing from people–especially people I don’t know personally–that they’ve enjoyed something I’ve written or they’ve found it useful. I definitely always write with the reader in mind, so I like knowing that I’ve connected.
2. Why did you decide to start your blog?
I started the blog as a place to get in some writing practice, find my voice, and establish myself a bit in order to break into the travel writing industry. Plus, I kept feeling like I was having these experiences, while traveling and while home, that were worth sharing–that maybe they could be helpful and interesting to other travelers and expats. But it’s also been a great vehicle for meeting like-minded travelers, bloggers, and other expats in Spain, like my girl Erin at La Tortuga Viajera. (The Scoopettes also like this site).
3. What overlooked gems in your region would you recommend to visitors?
I don’t see a lot of tourists in Malasaña, which is not a bad thing for residents, but makes me think visitors to Madrid are missing out. It’s a great neighborhood for experiencing what Madrid is really all about, which can’t be done in the museums, no matter how fabulous they are. Malasaña is full of great cafés like Tipos Infames, tons of vintage shops like Magpie Vintage, yummy restaurants like Ojalá, and so many bars. If you’re dying for attractions, one of my favorite underrated museums is also in Malasaña: the Museo del Romanticismo.
Outside of Madrid, I think Navarra and Extremadura are totally underrated. Sure, bajillions of tourists get smashed in Pamplona during the running of the bulls, but the rest of the region is worth exploring as well. They’ve got delicious food (one of the most memorable meals I’ve ever had was at Treintaitrés in Tudela), fascinating culture (all that Basqueness, all that history), and spectacular landscapes (the Irati forest in the north and Las Bardenas Reales in the south are unmissable). Not to mention Pamplona itself, which is definitely worth at least one non-drunken day.
As for Extremadura, the first time I went, I was blown away by how gorgeous it is. I was expecting arid emptiness, but it was so green! I think the dehesa must be one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world–and I’ve seen a lot of landscapes. And bonus points for all those yummy pigs running around under the acorn trees! Add to that enchanting villages like Trujillo, Mérida’s window to the Roman world, and the scenery and wildlife at Monfragüe National Park and you have the makings of a near-perfect destination. And I didn’t even mention the wine, the migas, the jamón, the Torta del Casar…
4. How do you see the internet in the future affecting your blog?
I just made a big move to New York but want to continue to write about Madrid and Spain as much as possible. Internet will be huge for researching stories I’ve had on the back burner since I can’t get to those spots physically any more. I’ve also finally given in to social media and have come to really enjoy using it to promote my site and keep in touch with readers and fellow bloggers. It’s also great for sharing things I think are interesting but that may not merit a full post.
5. What are your favorite foods?
Oh boy, too many to name, so I’ll stick with the Spanish stuff. Here’s a short list, off the top of my head and in no particular order:
Croquetas from Casa Labra in Madrid
La Hoguera, an incredible pintxo at Zeruko in San Sebastian
Come to think of it, just about any pintxo in San Sebastian
Also just about any pintxo on Calle Laurel in Logroño, my year-abroad stomping ground and a hidden foodie gem
Paella on the beach–I think it tastes better when you can see the ocean
Lomo ibérico (yes, I like it better than jamón)
My mother-in-law’s albóndigas and salpicón
Tortilla from Bodega la Ardosa in Madrid
“The good pizza:” gourmet interpetations at Pizza al Cuadrado in Malasaña (okay, not Spanish, but so good. My favorite favorite is pumpkin puree with bacon and smoked cheese. (Oh God I miss it!)
For more interviews on wacky, wonderful people in Spain, check out The Scoop Interviews.