#hookedonlife

A warm little place on Ipanema (English)

It´s 8 am and I realize that I just woke up from being cold. Being cold, for the first time in two weeks feels very good to be honest, as the air conditioning does it´s job to perfection. The room is chill. And it gives me the best feeling as I can just wrap the sheet around me and fall a sleep again. I have arrived Rio, Rio De Janeiro, city of sins, the place where they put God´s only son on watch on top of a mountain. And I can´t sleep more, cause I am so excited to be here – on Ipanema.

“Hi baby!” A woman looks at me and smiles. “Did you sleep well?”. This must be her, the lady I read about on hostelworld, the lady that is so great and makes everyone feel so welcome.  I notice my expectations are sky-high. Not so strange, since every review on hostelworld.com, written by advanced travelers who have more stamps in their passports than teeth in their mouth, is full of superlatives for this lady.

45 minutes later I feel like I have known Silvia for a hundred years. We´re sitting in the patio and I just feel the connection, the click. Because you know when you find a person who is like you in a way, who sees the world a bit like you do and has the same values. And that is why I´m not surprised when she starts telling me the story of the hostel, and about herself.

Feel the love

Feel the love

It started 10 years ago, when Silvia was a candle maker and she rented this small house on Ipanema together with two other artists. But times were though, and renting a house on one of the worlds most famous beaches was not cheap. So one day the two others decides to tell Silvia that they want out, they can´t afford the rent anymore. The problem is just that they have rented the house on a 2.5 years contract, and they can´t quit the contract before the 2,5 years have passed. But the guys don´t care, they want out, and tells Silvia that they will not be paying more rent. And they can do this, because the contract is in Silvia’s name – alone…

So, the back stab is a fact, the two others leave, while Silvia is left alone with a contract and a house looking like a grand workshop. And then the doorbell rings. It is in the beginning of February and a couple is standing outside wondering if she has room for them for the carnival. At first Silvia doesn´t understand, before they ask: is this a hostel? “No, I´m sorry” Silvia replies, but in her head the idea is already born: carnival time means good money, and all she has to do is… well, that; all she has to do is get the house changed from a total mess of a workshop into a hostel – in 15 days.

Christ the redeemer by night

Christ the redeemer by night

And you know what they say about people who work for what they believe in… 15 days later the Lighthouse is up and running with one 8 bed dorm and 2 shared bathrooms. The double room Silvia kept to herself, as she lived at the hostel herself for the first years. Now, the double is for rent to0, and houses those who want a bit more privacy, or couples on honeymoons.

But, back to the story; business was up and running, and has been now for 10 years. And Silvia has managed to build up what she calls her own “warm little place on Ipanema”.  Having even created her own business cards to reflect what this hostel is about.

A warm little place on Ipanema

A warm little place on Ipanema

The candles that she initially made here, represent the warmth of the place. And the fact that the house is not big, reflects the part about the little house. And finally, the two brothers, Ipanema´s well known mountains shows where we´re at – and it is beautiful. The hostel is almost always full, and of people who are like Silvia; open minded, warm, happy.

“So you never get the annoying idiots?” I have to ask. Because everyone who has been traveling knows that at some point, you are bound to meet an idiot. Someone who doesn´t respect your personal stuff in the dorm, who never cleans up their mess in the common kitchen, who make noise and walk in with dirty shoes. And who gets to drunk on cheap, local drinks. But the fact is, and as Silvia puts it: “the idiots don´t seem to last very long here. I guess they get sick and tired of our happiness. Which is a win win, really!”

Happy beautiful people from all over the world at The Lighthouse

Happy beautiful people from all over the world at The Lighthouse

So I ask Silvia more, about the journey from it all started to here. And she tells me it hasn´t always been easy. She is 40 years old (doesn´t look a day over 30), not married, doesn´t want children and is living as an atheist in the city where everyone is super religious. And she tells me that people have held their fingers crossed in her face (meaning that she is from the devil) and she has been talked about. A lot. But Silvia isn´t the type to care, she focuses on her life, her own happiness and what she thinks about herself. She explains how she fell in love with herself, and never stopped treating herself the best way she can. And she finishes with what has become one of my favorite quotes: “Happiness doesn´t work from the outside in, it works from the inside out!”

And she is so right, it is all that hookedonlife is about. I hope to return one day, to this lovely little place among Christ the redeemer, The Sugarloaf mountain, the two brothers and the sea.. Cause it really is: a warm little place on Ipanema. And you will feel loved.

Sunset on Ipanema

Sunset on Ipanema

 

Check out The Lighthouse online here

Check out The Lighthouse on hostelworld.com here

 

 

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