We have spent two weeks in the wonderful city Belo Horizonte in Minas Gerais, in what we safely can say is one of our favorite hostels; Adrena Sport hostel. What a hostel! And what a city.
Adrena Sport hostel is driven by two very active owners, Igor and Pedro. If you visit this hostel we can promise you an adventurous stay from beginning to end. The concept of the hostel is sport, and this is really something that is well thought-through from everything to the design of the hostel, the staff hired to which activities that is offered.
The two cool hostel-owners Igor and Pedro!
Each room has a sports theme and we stayed at the biking room. Here the ladders were made from either pedals or bike steers. A really cool and innovative way to design a room with reused material. Following, both Pedro and Igor have been a part of the building and design of everything in the hostel, from chairs to beds. They have aimed at using reused materials for as much as they can. The construction of the hostel is clearly conducted with sustainability in mind, and all showers and taps are saving water. This warms the Say HI teams heart!
Some pictures from the Hostel
The hostel also understands the importance of network and have started up an organization for hostels in Minas Gerais. We got the pleasure of meeting some of the hostel owners in this network and hear about their hostels. This is very cool as they intend to raise the standard of Minas Gerais hostels, and want to talk each other up instead of competing. Igor also introduced us to SEBRAE, a company with similarities to Innovasjon Norge. They have offices all over Brazil and help small and middle-sized companies to start-up and grow. We had a meeting with them and got shown around in their offices to learn about what SEBRAE do, and how they cooperate with companies.
Tour around SEBRAE. To the left: Two students at the SEBRAE are telling us about the school.
They have several projects with Adrena, one is a tour where Adrena is developing a “passport” where you receive a stamp every time you have visited a local store or place on a Belo Horizonte map. This is a very cool way of connecting local businesses together! The managers told us that they want to show visitors a different side to their city. As you might understand, Igor and Pedro are eager socializers and always have many plans to how to make both the hostel and Minas Gerais a meeting point for more people. In July they are rebranding and will start offering several new activities from the hostel. The staff at the hostel is actively involved in this, and many of them will be the ones hosting different activities. One example is one of the wonderful receptionists Joyce who is going to host a walking tour.
We were lucky to be taken around on several of the activities they aim at starting up. Some that we attended were a drum class, bike tour around Pampulha lake, an outdoor yoga class and outdoor climbing. It was nice to spend so much time outdoors and in the nature! You clearly see that the whole staff in Adrena love the outdoors and want to do what they can to keep the nature well preserved. These activities can be a great initiative to educate travelers on the importance of having a sustainable mindset when being in the nature. We think Adrena Hostel is the perfect advocators for this.
Something we also noticed that is very important for a well-functioning hostel is the atmosphere. Being at Adrena felt like being home. The hostel had a homely feeling with a big communal area and a nice kitchen. Most importantly, the staff felt like one big family. Everyone who worked there seemed to just hang around after work and wanted to spend their time there. This is much because all of those working there have an interest in sport, and the managers are constantly inviting the staff for climbing and vice versa. In addition to the whole staff being very involved in the running of the hostel. We thought this community feeling at Adrena was so nice and made us feel comfortable staying there from day one.
The first audit for the Hostelling International Quality and Sustainability certification was also conducted. We went through the whole list and luckily for us Pedro is a “doer” and got things done in a very efficient manner. In the two weeks we spent there they amongst other things got a new recycling system and started gathering batteries. Just like that! We love it when someone just do it. Now Adrena is recycling metal as well, which is a very valuable waste here in Brazil.
Last but not least, lets talk about Belo Horizonte. What a city! It is a big Brazilian city with everything that comes with being that. The city has many homeless people and also has some safety issues. Nevertheless, we never felt unsafe. Adrena is located in an area called Savassi, and it must be one of the nicest places in Belo Horizonte. The area has many places to eat out, drink coffee and go shopping. We also got to see the first Brazil game in the World Cup here. That was an experience in itself! They closed an entire street, put up a big screen and gathered anyone with a yellow shirt (or no shirt for that matter) in the street. What a vibe it is in Brazil during the world cup! We have never experienced anything like it.
Ready for our first Brazilian fotball-game!
Two weeks in this place flew by. We are so inspired by everything Adrena does for the local community, their guests and staff. It was a very fruitful first hostel trip for the Say HI team. We have learnt much about how to do sustainability, from furniture to activities. We have seen Belo Horizonte, which is filled with, amongst others, awesome happy people and cool coffee places. Last but not the least, we have also conducted our first Hostelling International Quality and Sustainability Audit and are very excited to see the result from this!
Written by: Hanna Jacobsen and Eirin Heddeland
Keep following our updates here on the blog, to hear more stories and ideas about sustainability in Brazil and in Norway!