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Gavdos. Southern Libyan Sea.

It is comforting and especially human, that there are people who can isolate themselves somewhere and open a fruitful dialogue with themselves that interests us all, when it concerns the values of life, the place, nature, man. It is a feat to choose solitude and the abundant light of the uncontaminated in this age of conventional beliefs and easy profit, to live even for a while free in Gavdos, rediscovering lost timeless values.

(Babiniotis).

gavdos Gavdos

The ship anchored in the port of Chania at 06:00 in the morning. I called my good friend, Haris Volitakis, to meet him, but of course he was awake at that time, he was walking his dogs in Sfakia, which is where I was also going to take the next ferry to reach Gavdos.

Creten Chania honda rebel grintelas

After taking a walk in the old port of Chania to remember the old days I started at 07:30 for Sfakia. Bitterly cold almost the whole way which forced me to put on a jacket. After an hour I was in Sfakia quickly buying a ticket for "Daskalogiannis" and looking around until the boat left.

Sfakia crete

It takes four hours to the island of Gavdos after first making stops at the south-western ports of Crete, Loutro and Agia Roumeli, arriving in Gavdos at 14:30.

gavdos Gavdos

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos

More or less I knew the way to the famous Sarakiniko. I found it easily and arriving at the beach I don't see a single camper, but not one! How is it, I thought, that there is not a single person here on this famous beach?

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos sarakiniko σαρακηνικο

I decided to proceed to the next village that was on my way, Ai Giannis. But on a bend that gave me an incredible view from Sarakiniko I distinguished some tents among the cedars, but I continued my way where at the end I saw a canteen with enough people, but no campers anywhere again.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos

Back to Sarakiniko again and I start searching under the cedars. The first one I met was an Italian, Giorgio an architect by profession where he had come to Gavdos and he with his motorcycle from Milan, has been doing this for the last few years just for Gavdos.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos

He offered me water and helped me by showing me some kavatzes there in Sarakiniko. I took them into account but for some reason Sarakiniko didn't captivate me that much. Something was pushing me to be in another part of the island that I didn't even know existed and what it would be like.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos

His instructions were to get back to the canteen and take the path which is right next to it but is camouflaged as you have to go down and up a big gully that has been created there.


I started again with the motorcycle, this time without the backpack so that I could walk more comfortably on the dunes without weight.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos

- The acquaintance with Elohim and the Dragon.

In the middle of this route I meet a man walking under the liopiri and I offered to carry him since we had the same destination. When I saw his face I knew he was Elohim (pseudonym). I remembered his face from Antonis Schroiter's show about Gavdos. During this interview Elohim had answered the question "how do you live without money" with the following:

- "I walk and find food."

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos Ελοχιμ ερημιτης elohim

From my experience so far, I can assure you that this is 100% true. Wherever I have been in my wanderings I always remember food offerings, indeed.


In a minute we had arrived. He thanked me and told me that he could show me the sites and kavatzes in Ai Giannis. I followed him of course.


After a while I found myself walking through a desert landscape dotted with cedars. The first thing that struck me was the color of the sand, there it had a golden color while in Sarakiniko it was silver. To this Elohim also agreed.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos

I got a good idea of what Ai Giannis is and now I had decided that I would stay there. I said goodbye to Elohim, thanked him and then back to Sarakiniko to get my backpack.


There are scenes everywhere in Ai Giannis. In every cedar, in every shade, tents. The fatigue I had was great after so much travel, so much heat and so much walking in the sand. I was struggling to walk.


After passing the first patch of cedars I reached the beach where behind it rises a large hill of cedars where in every shadow there was a tent.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos

I had stopped at the dragon and was looking from there to see if there was a free seat. so the Dragon is a large log, almost a tree, which stands there on the sand of the beach and is, as I learned later, a haunt for those who go down to the beach. Not knowing what it was about I took full advantage of it by throwing over the waterproof tarpaulin I carry with me. There was no air...yet! Elohim helped me in setting up this casket by appearing out of nowhere from the sea.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos

We caught up. he told me his, i told him mine. I offered him bread and tahini which I had with me and he accepted them with pleasure. I cooked for both of us and he walked to the little grocery store in Ai Giannis to get a bottle of white wine.


By the time he turned the rice was ready. We ate and drank wine always conversing in English with complete understanding as if we were communicating again after a long time. He showed great interest in my views and the philosophy of life that I espouse. He expressed to me that our meeting was not a random event and that it happened for a purpose, I again believe in luck. But now that I think about it, I will tell you that what you are is also what you attract to you and I really count quite a few personalities from friends in the Peloponnese to Samothrace.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos Ελοχιμ ερημιτης elohim

More generally, if you don't have anything to say to me or if you don't have any messages to pass on, then maybe the two of us don't have much to say.


He told me about how difficult Gavdos is. He characteristically told me that while he was in Crete, life was much easier. Finding food is much easier since Gavdos is a dry island and is completely deserted in winter. I and Elohim are on the same wavelength with the only difference that I am not (yet) gone forever like he did. After Germany where I lived with his wife and children, he found himself somewhere in Asia. For bureaucratic reasons, however, he left there and since then has been living in Gavdos for the last five years.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos

After eating and drinking it was time to say goodbye as Elohim saw the weariness in my eyes. He would return back to Sarakiniko since his base had now changed from Lavrakas, there. The reason was a TV interview he had given on TV which the other hermits didn't like that much. So he decided to retire to Sarakiniko.


It's eleven o'clock in the evening and I tucked into my sleeping bag, on my sand under the guard of the dragon, I closed my eyes with a strange anticipation of what tomorrow will bring me.


I woke up 09:08, my eyes were facing the dragon, I turned my head - sea. Opposite the white mountains of Crete, tall, proud. Morning exercise in the sand. Bathing in the sea and then breakfast with bread and tahini. I felt now that I had regained my strength.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos

The wind was slowly getting stronger and it was clear that the tarpaulin that covered my life would not last much longer. I noticed that a mug had been emptied and I quickly decide to move. I approach the place and see a small crate with a tomato, a peach, a green apple, salt, a whole jar of tahini, tsipouro, tea bags, hazelnuts, cinnamon rolls, a whole package of toast and some coffee.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos

So when you walk you find food as my friend Elohim said. I quickly became aware of another kavaza with a higher view than the previous one and eventually moved there.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos

At the moment I am writing these lines I am in the tavern-canteen of Ai Giannis drinking ouzo with lemonade. The time is 18:12 and a strange cloud cover has covered the island. I really like this tavern, you can hear psychedelia from its speakers. My skin is sticky from the moisture of the NE wind and I leave for my tent while there is still light and I can see.



- Meeting Jose.

Jose roamed the island usually in wacky shirts, you know, the kind with the intricate designs that catch your eye. Always alone. But his face did not show that he was looking for solitude.

Jose Cervera

So one night when I was sitting in the canteen, he came and sat somewhere next to a table. I decided to go talk to him and he greeted me with a smile and a willingness to talk. Spanish, actor by profession. He has long since left Spain and is traveling the world. Our common admission, having both experienced Samothrace, was that here people are not looking for conversation and acquaintance, but are more closed.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos

I remember him urging me to go around the world too. We talked about the fear of being away from your people and especially your parents as Jose's fear was losing his people while he was somewhere far away. But luck prevented him from experiencing such a thing. He said goodbye to them while on a return trip back to Spain.


He also told me about the south of Spain. For the places that host the different like Gavdos and the small communities that are created in those places.


- Walking along Gavdos.

08:50 morning wake up. Coming out of the tent I can see drops of water on the tent, on objects, but mostly under the cedars, I thought that the night drizzled without taking it seriously. Pretty much the same routine. Bends in the sand, swimming in the sea and returning to the tent for breakfast with bread and tahini, as if I was energetically preparing for something. But clearly I was preparing energetically as I wanted to walk and explore the whole island.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos

So I started walking, naked. Let me say here that almost on the entire island of Gavdos, everyone does nudism. I only had my cell phone in my hand to film what seemed interesting to me.


I reached the end of the beach of Ai Giannis and wandered around the kavatzes that are there. I continued the course west towards Lavraka. In my head I didn't have the slightest image of what Lavrakas is like, but I hadn't created one either.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos

Going up the small path that leaves Ai Giannis and leads to Lavrakas you see a warning sign about the danger of falling if you decide to cross it. I would say that this path is relatively safe. In the past, however, there was another path nearby on which a walker had lost his life.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos

This path climbs slowly with improvised steps made of large stones. The landscape has already started to change with desert elements. The sand and soil take on an even more golden color. Dried cedar bodies left and right on the path, it seems that drought is their only company. It reminds you that where you go, life is dwindling and the water here, my reader friend, is not to be seen there except salty from the stormy sea on the cliffs.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos

I continue to walk barefoot, with the strong sun above my head and at the same time Aeolus and Poseidon dance and I taste the saltiness of the sea on my lips. In many places the ground of the path is hard and my feet are bleeding, my walk now slower and more careful. At the same time I have to watch out for other mischief like scorpions. The island of Gavdos is famous for its scorpions.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos

The descent begins. Now I am walking on very hot sand and due to the slope of the ground the sand is crumbling, only a few cedars are alive. After half an hour I reach Lavrakas. A white sign placed on a stone wall informs you.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos

Sandy soil mixed with pebbles. Very different images from St. John, which impressed me. He had quite a few campers there too. In about the middle of the beach there is a well and you can pump water, the "residents" of Lavrakas drink it without any problem.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos

I was walking and taking in the scenery. The people there stood speechless but almost all of them gave me a greeting nod when we were close enough and our eyes met.


I reached the end of the bay of the beach where there is a well-built makeshift hut and in its yard there was a group. I said and they said good morning continuing on my way without knowing where I was going. I met only one girl on my way, I asked her where my route was leading and continued on my way.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos

The next stop on my way was Stavrolimni. A beautiful beach with a makeshift palango for towing a boat, I don't know if it is functional or if it is now beach decor.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos

I continued to walk without understanding how much and for how much longer. Magical landscape, unprecedented for me. I had been walking on the hot sand for a long time now, luckily the strong wind was somehow saving the situation.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos

The next beach I came across was Pyrgos. Also, very different scenery. Here, in Gavdos, each beach is a different world. So on this path I met the last kavatza and there I met Kostas.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos

He told me that if I intended to dive into the sea I should be aware of the poisonous sea urchins. He gave me instructions on how to continue on my way. But there I decided to turn back since I had already traveled a long way.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos

Arriving back at Drakos after some time I met Stelios. We had met Stelios the day before. He knows Gavdos better than I do since he has been visiting it for many years. His friend Simos was also with him. We bonded very well with these children, both measured and understood. We sat for a long time and then back to the tavern, they for food and I for the traditional ouzo.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos

There in the tavern I also met Giannis, a young man whose resemblance to Tzimis Panousis was more than frightening and that's why I called him Tzimako. Tzimakos came and drank a beer with us and after a while Elena also sat at our table who had also come alone to the island. We all drank from something alcoholic. At 23:00, Tzimakos and I retired to our tents. The other morning I learned that Stelios was passed out from what he drank and he and Simos were forced back to their tents.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos grintelas

From the next mornings onwards every morning when I woke up I sat on the flat rock that enters the sea. From there I could see the White Mountains of Crete and Gavdopoula. In fact, I wasn't just looking at them, I was looking inside. Endless hours with eyes fixed on the entire visible spectrum before me. Immersed in thoughts about where I am going and what is ultimately worth in this life. About whether I'll keep doing what I'm doing or spread my wings and see what I haven't seen.


The wind remains strong to the point where I take shelter in my tent. In the afternoon we sat with Stelios and Simos in Drakos but what we received was sandblasting.

To cook with such air was impossible.


Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos

Every morning now, we woke up with the hope that the wind would finally stop. My tent full of sand.


It was Tuesday and the wind had finally died down. Everyone was happy, we were reliving the island as it should have been. All three of us early on under the Dragon, listening to our conversations and the sand now friendly to our bodies, calm, in its place.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos

In the afternoon, arriving at the tavern, I meet Elohim sitting at a small table and talking with Daniel. I hadn't seen him since we dined together the first night I arrived. I asked if I could sit with them and they welcomed me warmly. Contemplating late into the night.


The next day we arranged to go to the chair with Elena, Simos and Stelios.



- The chair, the southernmost point of Europe.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos chair καρέκλα

Here I think it is worth mentioning the history of this chair. It was built by Russians. Immediately after the Chernobyl radiation nightmare, six Russians settled on the island of Gavdos according to doctors' advice to live in a clean environment. Of the six, only four survived.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos chair καρέκλα

So they placed a huge chair on the southernmost part of the island. In this way they wanted to show that life should be lived in pure nature. On both ends of the chair is written smile - relax, meaning smile - relax, giving some kind of instructions on how to live life. The Russians who lived daily with the anxiety of the death of radioactivity would know something more.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos chair καρέκλα

So we went with Stelios' car to the point where the trail starts. I will not dwell on the route of the path.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos

Me and Elena did about an hour and a half. Where I want to stop is in the magical landscape you see at the end of the route. It is a dried salt flat, at least when we went.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos

We took off our shoes and felt the soft and foamy ground under our feet.

Simos and Stelios had gone back to the chair so it was only me and Elena who visited it. On the way back it was dark and later we all went to a tavern in Kastri for food and raki.



- The page 209

We could no longer touch the Dragon. It was occupied as a group of two girls had come from the previous day. Valeria and Mei. Valeria slept on the sand in a sleeping bag and fatefully woke up in the morning at sunrise. Exotic beauty with a special look and eye color. May is Indian by birth but lives and works in London. Both of them smiling.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos

I approached them, spoke to them and we immediately started talking. We all sat together on the rock and talked about various things. George was also in our company. A veteran of Gavdos in his 70s. Me, Elena, Valeria and Mei all went for a walk together.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos

[...] after a while I began to see the sand moving, it had become a moving soup and my feet were sinking into it. It was impossible for me not to laugh at what I was seeing.

Valeria was thoughtful, moving the sand back and forth with her two hands. George suggested that they go for a walk and from that moment until the end I was worried about where he was and how he was doing. Then Elena disappears somewhere and Mei and I are left.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos

We were touching each other's bodies, lying naked on the sand. She saw in front of her a Greek god, from what she said, and I saw the Indian goddess Shiva. We would go into the sea together and then again lying on the beach touching each other and observing our bodies, looking into each other's eyes. I remember handfuls of wet sand on our bodies making patterns. Everyone was telling us how much we were in love, but we had just met an hour ago.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos

The sea had a silver color and the beach of Ai Giannis sometimes resembled a landscape on the moon and sometimes a landscape on Mars. Somehow we all meet together in the Dragon again. Me and Valeria lying on the hot sand holding each other's hand. George right above our heads playing with the didgeridoo incredible sounds.

The vibrations in my head hypnotize me and sink me even deeper. A didgeridoo made from a plastic pvc pipe was enough to produce vibrations that I felt in my spine when George decided to massage my back without even touching me.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos γριντελασ grintelas giorgos

He had arrived in the afternoon and Giorgos showed me and Mei around the playground of Ai Yannis. It is a space designed by the campers for the needs of the campers' own small children. Incredible place. There George explained to us how the dunes are made. I found it very interesting as I had no idea.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos

The night found us in the tavern. Me, Simos, Stelios and Valeria.



- Dali.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos dali νταλι

The old dog of another "patron" of Gavdos. I remember Elohim talking to me about one night when he couldn't find the path to the canteen. Walking here and there he meets Dali. Bowing to the dog's face and asking him to show him the way, Dali started walking and led Elohim to his destination.


- The departure.

The next day, after 10 days, it was time to leave Gavdos. I still remember that when I set foot on the island I wanted to leave from the very first hour. Now I never wanted to leave there.


I had coffee with Mei and George under the Dragon. I said goodbye to Stelios, Simos...all of them. I haven't seen Elohim since the last time I saw him in the canteen, but I left him the little black lighter in the canteen that he had given me to light the gas.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos

At 14:30 the ship had arrived at Karave. Boarding. The gaze fixed on Gavdos as the ship departed for Crete. Memory also pinned there. From the deck I could see the beach of Ai Giannis. I looked and looked again at the fugitive. I did not think that this island could engrave and move me. I was already homesick.



- I will not forget.

My encounter with Elohim. The full of magical afternoons in the canteen, with the sun setting and the figures of the walkers disappearing against the red background.

Γαύδος γαυδος Γαυδος gavdos Gavdos

I will not forget Stelios, Simos and Elena. The incredible resemblance of Giannis to Tzimis Panousis. I will not forget May and Valeria. Barefoot walks as long as I could on the island until I got tired. The smell of cedar, the smell of sand and dust on everything from the strong wind. Dali and his "owner", who performed various rituals by talking and dancing with the elements of nature. I will never forget the hill with the cedars in Ai Yiannis, the "apartment house", the "darkmen" and the playground. I won't forget the Dragon, I won't forget what it's like to live!


You will find Gavdos island here.

In the following video you will see, I tried to capture my perspective on the magical Gavdos. Trip with me!


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