In January 2018, we (Michael and Kaja) set out on our last trip to Brazilian HI hostels. We went to 4 hostels in Southern Brazil, and got to experience wonderful nature and exciting community projects in the hostels’ neighbourhoods. Here we will share with you three highlights from our trip.
The Flower village in Porto Alegre
In Porto Alegre, social, creative and sustainable enterprises joined hands and formed what is known to be the “Flower village”. In this inclusive environment you can find social architects, yoga, capoeira and samba classes, sustainable fashion and a wide range of other sustainable and environmentally friendly goods and services.
Colibrii is one of the social enterprises in Vila Flores, where less fortunate women work on recycling fabrics to artistic handicraft.
The inclusive environment is embedded everywhere in Vila Flores.
There are often events happening in this future oriented neighbourhood that reminded us of the hip blocks of Copenhagen. Visitors are even allowed to use their charming shared office – which can be a smart idea in order to get inspiration.
It has been chosen as one of the “New Natural Seven Wonders of the World” and is Brazil’s second most visited place. We totally understand why! The Iguazu Falls are simply amazing! We visited the majestic waterfalls from the Brazilian side – meaning we could gaze at the waterfalls from below. We even walked out on the “Devil’s Throat” bridge and got soaked in water splashing up where the falls hit the river.
Little Germany in Brazil
If one word could describe Brazil, then it must be diversity! It is not the first time we have been surprised about how different the cultures are in this country, but it is the first time we have heard German being widely spoken. It was also the first time during this year that we could more or less fully blend in as Brazilians despite our pale and blue-eyed looks.
There are so many traces of migrants that were leaving Europe since early 1800. Italians, Poles and Ukrainians to mention a few, and of course; a lot of Germans escaping the war for different reasons.
After a day’s drive on the scenic “Rota Romântica”, we stayed a night in the outskirts of charming Nova Petrópolis, and had the pleasure to meet Gleci, who runs the wonderful Bom Pastor Hostel; “The good shepherd’s hostel”.
The hostel lies on a green hill and is surrounded by fruit trees, green fields and fresh air. It is a perfect place to lower the shoulders and find new inspiration. In addition to being a hostel, Bom Pastor is also an agricultural school that even accommodates students during the weekdays. The owner Gleci is a German descendant who clearly has been inspired by German agricultural schools and pedagogic.
The hostel is fully self-sufficient with food, and serves this amazing breakfast. All is grown and produced on the hostel’s grounds, except the coffee and the ham.
Kaja Knutsdotter Fjørtoft and Michael Aune participate in an exchange project between HI Norway and HI Brazil. The project is funded by FK Norway.