A German native, Olaf had already studied, worked and lived in a couple of countries when he first came to travel to Brazil. On his second trip to the country, at the turn of the year 2006/2007, he took his first kite lesson in Jericoacoara and continued backpacking downwind with a number of friends, until they arrived in Atins. It took them two days and about R$35 each for the 600km. At the time, Atins had four pousadas to choose from; yet, traveling on a shoestring the crew decided to camp on the beach. A rapid love affair with the village evolved, a plot of land was bought in 2008 and in 2015 Olaf took the big step, to leave his then native London (UK) and a well-paid job behind to move to Brazil, learn Portuguese and to figure out what to do with this stake in paradise. Soon after, in 2016/2017, Convento Arcádia was born as a holiday house and from there, step by step, grew into what it is today.
When pondering the first ideas on how to convert the existing native’s house the principal design elements that came to mind were the cloister and the arches. Once the work was completed, the original house had assumed the appearance of a monastery or convent. Olaf embraced the concept of creating a place to retreat to, a sanctuary for contemplation and reflection, an oasis of Zen, hence the concept of Convento came to surpass.
Arcadia, on the other hand, first derived from the Ancient Greeks, as a myth, or a concept if you will, symbolising Garden Eden - paradise. Over the centuries the idea inspired countless writers, poets and painters, the names of some you will encounter on the door of your chalet or room at Convento Arcádia. During the Renaissance period, Arcadia re-emerged as a fashionable theme, when Jacopo Sannazaro, an Italian poet and humanist wrote his pastoral poem titled ‘Arcadia’. The poem was largely influenced by the otherworldliness of the place. In the Baroque era, Italian painter Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) and Nicolas Poussin, from France, dedicated their paintings to the pastoral theme of Arcadia. Poussin painted two versions of ‘Et in Arcadia ego’ which depicted mythical shepherds set in archetypical idyllic, pastoral scenes. The latin phrase “Et in Arcadia ego” translates to ‘In Arcadia, there I am’, where the ‘I’ refers to death, signifying that everything is perishable, even paradise.
Arcadia is an amazing mountainous area, on the Peloponnese, in Southern Greece. It’s typified by lush forests, green pastures and fast-flowing rivers; a textbook definition of ‘the Garden of Eden’, and peppered with typical Greek small villages. The region's two highest mountains are Mount Lykaion and Mount Mainalo with forests abundant in chestnut and oak split between the gushing rivers of the Alpheios, and the Lousios.
These rivers were once said to have cleansed the infant Zeus, father to the ancient Greek gods. The legendary caves of Kapsia which are over three million years old and are tucked away in Arcadia were said to be the home of Pan, God of the wild, shepherds and flocks, companion of nymphs, nature of mountain wilds, hunting and rustic music.
Arcadia, then, has always been depicted as a kind of Utopia, a Shangri-La, however not created by man; rather by nature itself, preserving its unspoiled wilderness. In Greek mythology it is described as the original site of ‘The Golden Age’, where peace, harmony, prosperity and stability flourished. In Arcadia, locals were humble and lived simply in harmony with nature.
This peaceful serene magical world inhabited by mythical nymphs and a pipe playing Pan surrounded by lush forests served as a significant inspiration to the world’s most beautiful poems and alluring paintings, and of course, to our little hotel as a veritable Paradise on Earth.
As a sanctuary for contemplation in paradise, what is our north, what are our principles and values you may wonder? To do our name justice in the quest to live in harmony with nature and bring about an age of peace, harmony, stability and prosperity we defined our vision and mission as follows:
While our vision and mission statement show you how we think, this is how we put them into action. Our values are the pillars that sets up apart and gives you a special home while you’re in Brazil.