Personal: Best Tinder date EVER! A week in Lisbon, Portugal


At the end of last year I decided I wanted to attend a photography workshop in London, England in February of 2018. 

I planned to be “over there” for two weeks and with the workshop only taking up two of those days, this gave me plenty of time to be free and just simply explore, wander, and see what the fuck happens. 

I had already spent time in London a few years ago, so I knew I only wanted a few of days there this time, then I wanted to pop over to a neighboring country before heading back to the US.  I just didn’t know where yet.

About a month before I was due to embark from Minnesota, I had it nailed down to Spain or Portugal… flights from London to either option cost about the same, not helping my indecisiveness.

Half tempted to flip a coin, I ultimately decided on Portugal, due to the fact I had already been to Spain (for ~72 hours) the year prior.  

I’m embarrassed to admit that I knew nothing about Portugal besides the fact that Lisbon is its capitol. If I’m being completely honest… I didn’t even know *exactly* where it was on a map, let alone what the culture/people/food was like… AT ALL! Also, your girl does not speak a lick of Portuguese (ayyy, but I know a few basics now!) 

I posted on Facebook that I had decided on Lisbon, Portugal and my friend*** Jason sent me a message saying he was going to meet me there. I figured he was fucking with me, but sure enough a week later he sends me a text… with no words… just a photo… of his flight confirmation.  

(***Backstory: Jason lives in Ohio. Three years ago he was visiting Oahu at the same time I was visiting Oahu. We matched on Tinder and tried to meet up a couple of times (I was there for 2 weeks) but he was too drunk all the time… just kidding - it just didn’t work out because he was always on the opposite side of the island, and I think he met a cooler chic to kick it with… Anyway, we became Facebook + Instagram friends and followed each other’s travels as the years went by, kinda-sorta making it known that we both hoped to meet one day. Honestly I never thought it would happen…)  

London was dope, the workshop was amazing, and I was off to Lisbon. 

I had to take, like, 17 modes of transportation to get from my hostel in London to my Airbnb in Lisbon, and the journey was equally amazing as it was exhausting! I loved every step of the way - navigating my way through the tube, catching the shuttle to the airport, taking my stab at deciphering airport signs in Portuguese. It’s all part of the fun for me. Here’s my Snapchat story from that day… 😂

I finally arrived in Lisbon around 10:00 PM, exhausted, starving, and so grateful for our host, Ana - who informed me I could stay in and relax becaus I could just order my dinner via Uber Eats. I laughed as a little car drove up our cobblestone road with my falafel wrap (which was delicious BTW, and I may or may not have ordered it two more times during my stay…) 😂

I had the Airbnb all to myself the first night, with Jason due to arrive early the next morning. Yes -  we decided to share an Airbnb without ever meeting each other. Well, we didn’t really talk about it… it was kind of just assumed I guess. But I was sure to choose one that had a futon… just in case things got weird. Ha!

 The apartment was SOOO fucking cute with it’s narrow hallways, mini loft, Nespresso machine, and a window in the kitchen which you could look out into the streets and just fucking die at all the cuteness. It was in the most PERFECT location as well  - an older, smaller part of Lisbon, tucked up in the hills (insert burning legs here) and away from the overly touristy part of town. 

The apartment, which was on the second or third floor (I can’t remember exactly, but either way - insert more burning legs), had a buzzer and an intercom to the entrance on the street. 

At 6:00 AM the next day, buzz buzz, Jason, the guy I matched with on Tinder three years ago but had never actually fucking met, was outside. 

I had never even heard his voice before, and there he was… waiting for me to let him in.

I wish I could say that I was all calm, collected and cool, but de verdad I was the most shaky, nerve-wracked girl on the planet.

Half of me was nervous because he’s this super dreamy, tall, intelligent, curly haired surfer dude… 

…the other half of me was nervous because (and this didn’t even fucking hit me until I woke up that morning) there I was - all alone in the in the middle of Lisbon with no cell phone (long story) in this teeny, basically hidden apartment, buzzing in a stranger of whom I had never even heard the voice of before. So yeah, calm cool and collected was a foreign concept at this point. 

I answered his buzz with a “… hello?!” and he replied “DUUUUUUUDE!!!” (insert surfer voice here) and I replied “DUUUUUUUUDE!!!” (insert me mimicking surfer voice here) and just like that I knew we’d be juuuuuust fine. 

That week was such a fucking whirlwind. It feels absolutely impossible to explain how amazing/crazy/weird/unexpected everything was…

The only way I know how to come close to explaining it is by sharing a few of my favorite, random highlights… here we go.

- Our first night in together we went out to dinner. We sat in the window-nook of an Indian restaurant, getting to know each other (both of us hoping we didn’t just commit to a week of complete fucking awkwardness) over naan and a bottle of GREEN wine. He took this photo of me without me knowing (what?! that’s my job!) at dinner and posted it to his IG, which I thought was supes cute. *aw*

- While walking home in the middle of the night, we spotted a rooftop bar in the distance and made it our fucking mission to find our way to it. Once we found the building, we walked in confused - it looked like a fucking post office. There were a couple of men standing at the front desk of this completely silent, officey-type entrance and we asked if there was a bar near by… they pointed towards the elevator. We stepped out of the elevator and it was as if we had been transported to a different fucking land - with amazing music, vibes, and a view of a freaking CASTLE ☠️☠️☠️!! Here’s a wine-buzzed Snapchat story from that rooftop:

- Again walking home in the dark streets, we heard a party on the 3rd-ish floor of an apartment building. We were a little buzzed at that point and Jason came up with the idea of crashing the party. We yelled up to the balcony “heyyyyy!” and someone, I think it was a neighbor, buzzed us in. After walking up the stairs and fighting the urge to turn around and run because WTF were we even doing?! - we knocked on the door… a young, twenty-something guy opens the door… pause……. 

“Oh my gosh, I am so sorry, I will turn the music down!” he said, assuming we were angry neighbors. 

We laughed and replied “Oh, no! We… um… heard you from the street and we were wondering if we could…”

OH! COME IN! COME IN! Do you want a drink?!” 

They turned out to be this crew about 20 people deep visiting from Spain… they welcomed us with wine and kept asking us lots of questions - they were fascinated with us, and the feeling was mutual.

We partied with them all night long, and they even talked us into going with them to a night club where we danced and danced and danced and made out on the dance floor without a fucking care in the entire world… 

- One afternoon we drank champagne on the top of a terrace while we came up with the idea to have a photo competition (Jason is a really great photographer, too!) and came up with a list of photo prompts to use (ie: take a photo of someone laughing, a photo of public transportation, a photo of someone working, etc…)

- While I was editing in a coffee shop, a Portuguese man came up to me, introduced himself, and convinced me to close my laptop so he could take me to his favorite bar and treat me to shots of “ginjinha” … at 10:00 AM… while Jason was sleeping off his jet lag 😂

- Editing photos + watching Sherlock Holmes in bed, completely fucking exhausted:

- Watching Jason get stuck in the doorway every time we came home (1. because he’s a giant and 2. because places are just especially tiny here): 

- Going to this little café to work after a beautiful day of shooting on the street and taking a photo of this badass lone-wolf woman who was sitting near us (I like to think that she is what I look like when I travel alone): 

- Documenting Jason and his true love – this fuckin’ graffiti fish. 😂He would spot this fish every night as we made our way back to the apartment. There are many more photos of Jason and this fish, but the rest way too wine-buzzed-blurry:

- Taking the last night to write in my journal while sitting on the patio of this little crepe joint, over a glass of red and a Nutella + Banana gift from the gods:

- One afternoon we walked until we literally couldn’t walk anymore. We couldn’t go any further, so we decided to stop at the next café we stumbled upon, which happened to be this little alley-way spot called “Tasca de Susana” where we were served by Susana herself. She hooked it UUUP with a huge craft of wine and lots of bread. I saw a big, burley man eating a brownie through the window of the restaurant and I snapped his photo (pictured below)… this man ended up coming outside to smoke, and I asked him to take a photo of Jason and I together: 

- Finding “our spot” - this teeny tiny café super close to our apartment. I think we went back here 3 or 4 times. First of all, this place is tiny in it’s entirety, but when you walk inside, there’s an even tinier, little closet-sized nook, so so small, over on the right. It has an “L” shaped cushioned bench, a little table, a record player, flowers made of tin, and a few other knick-knacks which we highly considered stealing as souvenirs. The wine was delicious (and cheap), the service was great, and those desserts hit the spot every single time (NOT vegan, but hey, when in Portugal…😜) It was the perfect place to end our nights before heading back to the apartment: 

And all of the other in-between moments as well… 

Thank you Jason. Thank you Tinder. Obrigada Lisbon.🖤

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