In my world there is no such thing as coincidence and everything happens for a reason.. So why are all signs pointing us to Palermo? When we started hearing of the Palermo barrio of Montevideo, it was simply in passing. Then I learned of the Ecotiendas store and mentioned it here on May 16th, not even knowing where it was located at the time.
Brad and I talked that the next place we should live in Montevideo should be a bit closer to the water, still very walkable as we have no intention of having a car, and not as "uptown" as the typical expat barrios of Pocitos or Punta Carretas. But where? Palermo looks really nice on the map... With borders of '18 de Julio', the Rambla, Parque Rodo and Santiago de Chile/Ejido, Palermo is nicely tucked between the park and Centro.
Then an article came out about Palermo on the Total Uruguay Guide and Brad and I started to talk about it some more.
This past Thursday, my Spanish tutor told me about a small Asian grocery called Bambu. Where else? Palermo. Okay Bambu is right outside of the border of the Palermo neighborhood, but within a block or two.
On Saturday, we couldn't avoid the signs any longer and decided to use Ecotiendas and Bambu as our excuse to check out Palermo and Centro. We visited each store and were impressed by both. The 116 bus was a straight shot into Palermo from '21 de Setiembre' and we walked back through Parque Rodo.
Ecotiendas, while large in size, is somewhat small in offerings. It is similar to a small co op that you would find in the USA. We went there specifically for more ecologically friendly cleaning products and found a few nice options. They also have organic meat, cheese and produce. Located at Maldonado 1390, esq. Santiago de Chile, Montevideo. Telephone 900 6560
Bambu was amazing, with a collection of asian noodles, sauces, spices, and foods that I haven't seen anywhere else in the city. We picked up tahini, rice and soba noodles, oyster sauce and several other items. Located at San Jose 1290 esq. Yaguarón, Montevideo. Telephone 902 7720
Our impressions of Palermo were excellent. The buildings are generally lower than in Pocitos, which means more sun. There are many of the old colonial houses that I adore along tree lined streets. Some parts were grittier than Pocitos or Punta Carretas, but that is okay with us. Taking into account it was a Saturday in the middle of winter when a lot of people are on vacation, the area was quiet.
Palermo is not a typical expat area and as Elaine addressed in the Total Uruguay Guide, this may make it harder for an expat to integrate into the community. I anticipate speaking fluent Spanish will be much more important here than in Pocitos. Costs in Palermo are also generally lower than Pocitos or Punta Carretas.
This is an area that I think we will return to often to consider whether it is a place we would like to live. Our current lease is for nine more months, so we have some time to look, explore and dream.