Christmas lights and Covid Restrictions

On December 1, Portugal initiated additional Covid measures. To eat inside, go to a gym, or go inside some places, you need to provide a negative Covid test, or a EU vaccination card with QR code. Unfortunately our American vaccination cards are useless, and we can’t get an EU card since we’re not residents yet. We’re okay with ordering takeout or eating outside, so we figured it wouldn’t be a big deal. But a EU vaccine card is required for the Christmas village downtown.

We went to see the Christmas lights in Leiria a few nights ago. They’re beautiful and they’re all over downtown. It was a lot of fun walking around looking at everything. There is a carousel and train outside. We got free pictures with Santa. I had the best hot chocolate I have ever had. They created a huge tent filled with activities like ice skating, sledding, and other fun stuff. when we went the activities in the tent weren’t really set up. We went again last night and they now require the EU vaccine card to go in the tent.

One thing I really wanted to do was go to Obidos to see the town and their famous Christmas Village. I wonder if they are going to require the vaccine card. We don’t mind doing a Covid test, but we have no idea how that works. They have self tests at the pharmacy for cheap, so we’re not sure if we just buy some and then take them in front of people when they are required. I’ve heard they are good for 72 hours but I’m not sure how if it’s a self-test. No one would know when we took it. Anyway, we’re headed back towards Lisbon in a few weeks for our SEF appointment, so I think we have to skip Obidos this year. I’m disappointed but we will be here for years and maybe next year will be easier.

Our SEF appointments are in a few weeks in Setubal. We just booked an Airbnb for 3 nights there. I’m excited to go back to Lisbon and to see Setubal. Setubal is on a lot of lists for good places for expats to live, so I’m looking forward to seeing it myself. I already miss Lisbon and welcome a chance to go back. Especially during Christmas! I’m very excited to see some of the lights there. I guess we should buy some Covid tests just in case…we plan to take buses and trains to Setubal and throughout the area. I don’t think we need a negative test for those, but better safe than sorry.

We are getting our apartment settled. We still don’t have much furniture, but a lot is coming next week. We finally caught up on laundry and we got a kid’s table yesterday, so we’re making progress. The maintenance guy was over a few times this week and now our apartment is in good condition.

We’re mostly ready for our SEF appointment. Our landlord gave us the registered lease, which was my biggest concern when we were looking for an apartment. Landlords are required by law to register the lease with the tax authorities. Many don’t because they don’t want to pay taxes on rent. In order to get residency we need a registered lease, so I’m glad that our landlord did that and made it so easy. The last big step is to get health insurance. Unfortunately I can’t just buy online. I had to fill out a little bit of information and then the insurance company is supposed to call me to go over everything. So, we’ll see how that goes.

Overall we’re settling in pretty well. Furniture is coming really soon. Hopefully we will have our residency cards by the end of the month (ish). December is cold, but a beautiful time throughout the country with all of the Christmas lights. Things are good right now.

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