Hermana, Hermana

Travel Blog
Porto, Portugal

There’s been several times during my travels, where I found myself wishing that I could share my experiences with friends and family. Sure, I always meet people along the way, but how cool would it be to physically share the experience with the ones who really know me as opposed merely painting the picture for them upon my return. BUT, after years of traveling and countless countries explored, My wish was finally granted. Before I left home, my sister told me she wanted to pass her 30th birthday in Spain. So, September came around, and she did just that.

The 9 months awaiting her arrival seemed to come fast and slow all at the same time. Her arrival was much anticipated but just as my luck and immune system would have it, I got sick the very day that she touched down in Madrid. Thankfully she came bearing U.S. remedies (TheraFlu Day and Night, Excedrin Extra Strength and Strawberry Pop tarts…well the latter is neither here nor there) items that that I had long been asking for and awaiting. From the second I met her at the airport it was relentless, joking, laughing and fun pausing only briefly as we entered the metro together for the first time to give her a crash course “normal” and “abnormal” metro behavior and empart a few traveling tips that I’d picked up throughout my experience here.

We explored every inch of Madrid. We visited museums and laughed at our own sillines as we guessed, named, and “interpreted” each of the pieces we saw. We went to parks, meandered past The Royal Palace, strolled through gardens and and sauntered around cathedrals. We spent 48 hours in Madrid before packing up and journeying to Portugal but we with 11:00p.m. dinner reservations (the norm), 4:00 a.m. wake up calls and midday roof top siestas we combed just about every inch of the city and made sure no leaf was left unturned before our 6:00am departure to our next adventure.

Not taking into account hotel check in times when making our flight reservations, when we arrived to our lodging destination, we were told our room was not yet ready. Not wanting to waste a second of time, we left our bags with the concierge and took off to find food and do some light exploring. We walked down to the coast. One of my favorite sites in all of Portugal was this man made pool situated on the shore line at a local beach. We stopped for a bit to take pictures and sat for a while to simply bask in the the atmosphere. Before long our tummies started to grumble, so we figured it would be a good time to head back and find something to eat. We stopped at a restaurant and both ordered fish as I was told that Porto had some of the best seafood the world had to offer. The food was as good as it was hefty, neither of us finished our portions.

While walking back to the hotel, still catching up on life, through a quick reflection in the window of an oncoming car I noticed a group of guys walking behind us. I dropped my voice to a whisper and said “Yina, there’re 5 guys behind us.” Without turning back to verify, she too dropped her voice to a whisper and corrected me by saying “ you mean 6, there’s a guy walking solo behind the group of 5. So, what do you want to do?” she asked. We continued to walk while devising a plan. We decided to go into a nearby gas station. Four of the six men continued straight while the other two turned into the mini mart as well. We “shopped around” and waited them out. Before leaving, Yina bought a bottle of wine. While we planned on enjoying it later, she figured it would be a good resourceful object to have in hand for the rest of the walk back. It felt good to travel with someone just as mindful (if not more) and vigilant as myself.

We made it back the hotel safely with no need to use the bottle of wine…for protection. We took a nap before heading to explore the rest of Porto and catch the sunset over the river. We either miscalculated the distance of the journey or the time of the sunset because we found ourselves sprinting to the bridge so that we wouldn’t miss it.

Sunset in Porto

The next morning we caught a train into Lisbon and toured the city by tour bus. I have yet been able to determine which of the two cities I enjoyed the most, both offering components completely different.

After two days in Portugal, it was time to head back to Spain where we finished her birthday celebration in Barcelona. It was so great to see my sister, to catch up, reminisce and simply be in eachothers presence. There were points throughout the trip where she and I would be walking down the street delivering punch line after punch line and I’d have to stop mid stride as I was paralyzed by laughter. At one point I had to beg for a moment of silence. It was as if had she said one more word, my bladder would have failed me, and up until that point I hadn’t even realized it was full. If you ask me now what we were laughing at I couldn’t even tell you, but in the moment it was the funniest thing in the world. To say we had a great time would be an understatement. I wish she would come back. Actually, I wish she would just move here with me but I know she’s not going for that. So in the meantime, I will cherish the week we spent celebrating, continue to laugh at all of our trip fails and inside jokes, and countdown the hours until I see her again, on whoever’s soil that may be. Until then, FaceTime will continue to be our greatest ally.

Below are more pictures and videos from our time together. But until next time my loves, exes and ohs.


“Sisters share childhood memories and grown up dreams.”

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