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The lightning struck surfer. Lagkouvardos.

Friday, July 1, 2022

I am leaving Patras by my motorcycle. The backpack full and heavy. Stop for petrol and a bag of trachana for the moment of cooking. The initial thought is an overnight stay in Lagouvardo for a surfing weekend as it is one of the few places in Greece where one can find some waves to surf.

First stop at Pyrgos for rest. There I met an old friend, Mario. He welcomed me with joy and we sat for some time to share our news. In general, I have many childhood memories from the prefecture of Ilia and I consider its natural beauty unique.

I continue my journey west reaching Filiatra or otherwise the little Paris and from the photo below you will understand why.

The beach of Lagouvardos is about ten minutes from Filiatra. I arrived by entering from the southern entrance of the beach looking for a place to spend the night.

My gaze finds a guy staring at me. I don't know why but I immediately understood that he is more than a local! His gaze spying and with a strict surveillance style. Medium height, with a carnation, white beard and some teeth missing.

I continued to the end of the dirt road and found a convenient spot but no luck. Reversal, back again and again in front of me. This time outside the improvised hut he has built to live winter-summer in the bay of Lagouvardos.

I stopped, turned off for the noise, greeted him and asked him if there was a spot to set up my tent. He pointed out a couple of points to me after first making it clear to me that he will not allow garbage to be left by anyone. He was talking to me about this dishonorable crowd of surfers, as he called it, and how in his 57 years he has never encountered such behavior again. I won't reveal his name, it doesn't make any sense. Anyway, he faces a lot of problems from various people who don't like his stay there.

We got to talking and he immediately invited me to his hut to drink a glass of wine since the afternoon had come to an end and it was his turn in the afternoon. As I entered the yard of his kennel, I was stopped in a wild mood by Zeus, a half-bred Labrador who was growling but at the same time wagging his tail in the presence of his owner. When he got to know me, he jumped on me with joy so I could pet him.

Born in 1965, like my father, he talked to me about the circumstances of life that brought him here, about his wife and his children. From the conversation we had he liked me enough to point out another spot for me to pitch my tent a little further from his hut. He had protected the spot from would-be visitors by blocking its entrance with branches.

He led me there, pushed aside the branches revealing the hidden entrance which led to an elevated point, a natural balcony or rather a natural terrace with a beautiful view of the sunset and the bay of Lagouvardos. A really nice bottle. However, the ground at this point was very hard and was the only reason I did not choose it.

So at the edge of this terrace is placed an iconostasis, like the one we see along the national roads in memory of the victims of the asphalt. I was curious but didn't ask at the time. I'll find out about it tomorrow.

I said goodbye after a couple of glasses of wine and went down to the beach just below the iconostasis. I left my things on the towel and a couple of Germans caught up with me talking to me about the sights and specifically about some waterfalls that adorn the wider area, making me think of exploring the next day since there were no waves on the beach.

I left my things there and walked to the other end of the beach. He has a restaurant there and I got a club sandwich from there. I went back to where I had left my things, ate and saved the last bit for the hut man. I went and found him to give him the piece which he accepted but again I forgot to ask about the iconostasis.

The hour had passed and it was getting dark. I lit the oil lamp, spread a sheet that I have with me and on this substrate to protect from the moisture of the sand.

Somehow and with the head lens I am currently writing these lines. On a deserted beach with no fear of any kind but my desire to relax and sleep on the sand. The only thing that can be heard is the ripple of the sea.

Saturday, July 2, 2022

I open my eyes at 6 in the morning for no reason, it's starting to scratch. After a while the sun warms me and makes me sweat inside the sleeping bag. I gathered my things because soon it would be unbearably hot and went to greet the man of the hut as well as to give him a lighter he had lent me from the day before for the lamp.

He asked me if I want coffee. I declined because I had to move on and because I'm not a coffee person. All I could think about was where to go now since the beach wouldn't be making waves today either and thoughts of surfing were wandering around.

So I leave and while I'm gone I remember that I wanted to ask about the iconostasis that I had all night a little beyond me.

The story behind it is macabre and is about a surfer who was struck by lightning while out in the sea surfing. He told me that in general the area is struck by a lot of lightning and that the spirit of the dead boy visited him often and they caught up on the conversation. Sometimes she also asked him for a cigarette.

The shack man also told me that he didn't want me to know that the surfer might be visiting me that night to chat with me because I might get scared when I see him. I didn't talk much after that...I got on my motorcycle and drove off.

Video of the area follows.

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