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When I meet a person for the first time they usually find it difficult to guess my ethnicity. More than anything, my last name is a pretty big clue, but I’ve heard everything from Portuguese, Italian, German, Greek, and even Middle Eastern in one strange instance (don't ask me why). Just by looking at me, it’s hard to guess I’m Hispanic because, on the surface, I’m about as white as you can get. Since the term “Hispanic” in the US is often incorrectly associated with “Mexican,” people are thrown off because my blue eyes and light complexion don’t align with the standard Mexican stereotype.
From the start, my decision to visit Santiago de Compostela was rather arbitrary. Since I went through Portugal from South to North, the next logical step was to continue my Northern trajectory into Spain. Prior to arriving, I had few expectations and knew very little about the town aside from the fact that it was the terminus of the Camino de Santiago. I debated walking a section of the Camino, but considering my visa constraints, I preferred to allocate my time elsewhere. Many travelers I'd met in Portugal indicated that a fair portions of the trail were near large thoroughfares and, since I was traveling during the tourist season, the trails would full of pilgrims making the exact same trek.
I must admit that I’m really enjoying the act of traveling. For most people, transit time is often considered a necessary (and often frustrating) sunk cost needed to reach a destination before they can “officially" begin enjoying themselves. Granted, I’m only on week three of a fifty-two week-long trip across the world, but every time I change cities, I become genuinely excited to figure out transportation, find the bus station, and spend the day in transit, because at the end of the day arrive in a brand new city! Where do I get dropped off?" "Where’s my hostel?" "What’s the city like?" "Who will I meet?" "What is there to do here?”
If you can believe it, my original plan was to skip Porto entirely and head straight for Santiago de Compostela. Since I spent my allotted two weeks in Portugal, I felt I needed to leave the country if was to remain “on schedule.” Many of you may find it perplexing that I keep a schedule considering I have an entire year to travel, but thanks to the Schengen Agreement, I’m limited to only three months in Europe. However, after hearing such great things about Porto, I figured the hell with my plans!