Lisbon: the one where I got robbed

Hey guys! I’m still working on my Edinburgh (Scotland) and Dublin/Galway (Ireland) posts, but for today, I will write about my first day in Lisbon (Portugal). I’ll make another post in a few days to actually talk about what I did/ate here in Lisbon, but today’s post will be about how I got robbed. It’s quite lengthy (5 minute read?) but to me, it’s very eventful and worth it if you’re bored!

My Day

My day’s been downright exhausting. My flight to Lisbon was at 6:30 AM and I went to bed late (I’m stupid :P) so I only got one hour of “sleep”. Luckily, the people who hosted me in Dublin were so kind and generous and insisted that they drive me to the airport at 4 AM, so even that one hour was lucky for me to have (I would not have had even that hour of sleep if I had to take public transit to the airport). After the flight, I went to my hostel. I arrived much earlier than check-in time, so I left my large backpack at the hostel and carried my daypack (smaller backpack) and went for a walk.

I bought a tart thing (they’re everywhere in Lisbon and they are absolutely wonderful – I’ll write more about them in a later post but for now, see featured image!) at some bakery. 10-15 minutes later, I was trying to buy ice cream. That’s when I realized that somebody had unzipped my backpack  and taken my wallet. I knew that it had been stolen (vs. lost) because I always keep both zippers to ONE side of the backpack (as opposed to the middle/top of the backpack, because sometimes this leads to unzipping as I walk). It was deliberately unzipped, and my wallet was the only thing missing out of the 2947253 items in the bag.

What Was Missing

My wallet had my drivers license and my passport, as well as ~300 euro. I walked up and down the same exact route three times trying to find it on the ground, asking stores if they’d seen it or if anybody had turned it in.

I started crying because well, many reasons.

  1. It’s my 23rd birthday today
  2. This is my first time travelling alone in a country where English is not an official language (until now, I’ve gone to England, Scotland, and Ireland)
  3. I have a flight at the end of this week, and how am I supposed to get on it without my passport? Sure, missing one flight isn’t a big deal… but what about all the flights after that, which I cannot take unless I can somehow get to my next destination in time?

How I Felt

So yeah, I jumped to the worst scenarios. I was overwhelmed. And in the back of my mind, I knew I was going to be fine. I was so prepared! I had taken photos of all my important documents (including my passport) before this trip and stored them in a safe place. I still had ALL my bank cards. I knew I had to find the police and go to the Canadian Embassy etc. Still, I didn’t calm down until maybe 40-50 minutes later – with the help of my friends who were messaging me saying it’s all going to be alright and supporting me by looking things up regarding my situation and sending it to me. They are seriously amazing.

It was just scary, you know? I started this day off all excited that I am finally leaving the UK area, finally going to a place with warm weather, spending my first birthday alone, becoming super independent and getting shit done! I was so excited for Lisbon. Next thing I know, my cash and all forms of ID are missing. It’s just one of those things you don’t think would happen to you, one of those things you think you’re prepared to prevent and then… it happens anyway!

Let me make this clear. never keep all my cash in my wallet. And I never bring my passport with my inside my wallet. Today was an exception because I had a flight (so the passport had to be easily accessible by being in my wallet) and I could not check into my hostel (so I had to have all my cash & stuff with me). And the one day I do this, it gets stolen! These things don’t happen to me. I’m clumsy and fall a lot (in fact I fell twice today LOL). I’m jumpy and get surprised quite easily. But lose things? Careless with my belongings? No. Just no.

Except for today. But there was a store owner who saw me standing and typing away furiously at my phone (researching what to do) and sniffling, and he asked me if everything is OK and I told him my situation and he was so nice. He offered to call the police and asked if there is anything he could do to help. It was just so much initiative and generosity shown, you know? And I’m just a strange little girl crying on the street LOL.

Eventually, I was on the subway to the Embassy when my friend messaged me that the Canadian Embassy is closed today because it’s Victoria Day (so great, it’s my birthday AND it’s a holiday). It never makes sense to me when important places close on holidays. Yeah it’s a holiday but THIEVES DON’T TAKE HOLIDAYS.

The Police

Then, my friend told me I have to go to a police station and get some reference or declaration before I even go to the Embassy. My phone was taking too long to load pages, so my friend was super helpful searching all this up for me from Canada! So I asked locals where the nearest police station was and made my way. Then I saw some police guys (quite young – I’d say late 20s, maybe early 30s) and they really helped me out! They told me that I was going to the wrong station, that I had to go to a specific one. They asked me I had a map, and I said no. My phone and all portable chargers were also dead. So they walked me all the way to where I needed to go! They were so funny too! :p They really cheered me up in a time of stress and anxiety. They asked me where I’m from and all about my trip. And they just guessed that I’m a blogger! I asked them how they knew, and they said the only kind of people who would travel alone for 75 days are bloggers.:D And then one of them asked for my blog! He’s going to go on a trip with his girlfriend to places I will go this summer, so he said he’s going to read about them here before he goes.

We got to the station, and it was filled with people, but the police guys explained my situation to their friend/coworker at the station and I got seated straight away. Then they left and the guy at the station helped me fill out forms to take to the Embassy tomorrow.

The Miracle 

After leaving the station, I really needed to sit in a cafe (my happy place) and connect my phone to my laptop to charge it. So I did. And I opened my Facebook. I had a message from a stranger. I clicked it, and it was another store owner. They had found my wallet and passport. He gave me his number so I called and he explained everything. He was throwing something away when he saw a perfectly fine wallet in the trash, thought it was odd and took it out, found my ID and searched my name on Facebook and matched the photos with the ones on my ID and messaged me!


Still, that thief has caused me so much unnecessary stress.

Dear thief, I wish you would’ve just taken the cash and left my wallet in a more visible place – and not a fucking trash can. Since my passport and ID are not valuable to you, the least you could’ve done in exchange for stealing my 300 euros is to leave my wallet somewhere more accessible. It was a miracle that such an observant and kind person spotted this wallet in the trash and took the time to find and contact me. Whoever you are, I hope you put my money to good use. I hope you really needed it.

As for the store owners – thank you so much! IF ANYONE READING THIS LOVES SHOES AND FINDS THEMSELVES IN LISBON, go to Paez, the Rua do Alecrim location! 🙂

Oh boy, today was just a rollercoaster for me!

TIP: ALWAYS KEEP YOUR VALUABLES WITH YOU, AND BE VERY CAREFUL WITH BACKPACKS. I highly recommend shoulder bags that you can see at all times. Also, separating your valuables (and not keeping them all in one wallet/coin purse) is a good idea. I don’t know what would’ve happened had my bank cards been in my wallet.

19 thoughts on “Lisbon: the one where I got robbed

  1. My goodness. I was a little nervous when you said that your passport was in the wallet. I’m so glad that there was a kind soul out there who contacted you to get your stuff back.

    And your “dear thief” message should become an official PSA to thieves. IF you’re gonna steal my shit, could you please leave it in a more visible spot.

    Glad everything worked out ok-ish.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You’re brave and travelling alone will bring you way more awesome experiences than bad ones. Glad everything worked out ok. We are all following your blog back here eh. =P

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh man…no one told you? In Europe, you always keep your bag in front of you. It looks fucking ridiculous but the pickpockets there are on another level. Glad everything turned out well though!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OK so I kept my bag in front of me in Lisbon today and still someone managed to reach around, unzip it and take my wallet! So not just in front, but tucked inside your pants or something! So I lost my money, my drivers license, my sim card. All can be replaced but the money, but still I’m pretty pissed—thought I was being careful!


  4. I was in lisbon for a couple of days w my family, and the first day, the first hour i was alone i almost got robbed. Two guys approached me and started to yank my clothes and tried to snatch my phone out of my hand, i told them not to touch me and BAM he throws a punch in my face, and it was no love tap. Im so everly thankful that i practice martial arts, because otherwise i would probably have walked home that day blue and purple in my underwear with no passport or wallet. Tip to you: learn to defend yourself if you will be traveling alone. It was a scary situation, but it could have been a hundred times worse. Honestly, i was scared of being alone in that city for the rest of my stay as the city crawls with small almost hidden alleys, not the best first impression of portugal. Stay safe!

    Liked by 1 person

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