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Sooner or Later, Stories Need to be Told - from Cyprus to Bulgaria to Greece

Article by Christos Yiannaki

Photography by Tony Josephides

Additional photography by Christos Yiannaki

Fakie Pop Shoveit photo by Christos 'Mantilas'

Temperatures are reaching sky level. Naturally, we are all getting ready to face another phenomenal summer in Cyprus, and this report is not to advise the weak and the vulnerable. We have seen a lot of that lately in the weirdest way. So, staying home will be more fashionable this year (until further notice at least). The following words are especially for those who don't see too much time at home as a choice. We gathered up something special to boost you up for the summer. To those who are burning anyway by the fire within, Stay_K is backing you up with extra flammable oil. Don't forget to support the spirit as well as the body.

We may or may not be able to easily travel in some cooler countries this year. Even though, gear up. Skate spots are endless, if you look for them well enough, aren't they? When they are surrounded by sea, even more convenient. Make those #islandlife posts worth a while. The lockdown has dropped. Even cloths have dropped due to heat. If it's not midday with 40°C plus, from which you would be roughly excused, you should already be out there celebrating this time of the season and skateboarding.

Last year in August, Christos 'Mantilas', Tasos Panayi, Tony and me were fortunately organised enough for a tour from Larnaca to Sofia in Bulgaria to Athens and Andros island in Greece. A trip that lasted nine days. Roso joined us later to retain balance between laziness and energy within the group. He managed so well that, in fact, he got drunk at Larnaca Airport and suddenly woke up at Syntagma Square in order to sleep again, while Tasos was nailing the most epic Ollie the rest of us had ever witnessed. This event is just a small example of how wild it was. From a 5 hrs hiking at the tallest mountain in Bulgaria's capital to boat trips in the Aegean Sea to a wasp sting in a forest after midnight, this skate tour had it all. But, let's take things from the beginning.

At the first destination - Sofia, Bulgaria - there was one particular unforgettable experience, other than the skate sessions. One day we decided to take the lift for Vitosha mountain and, having the classic last-moment Cypriot mind set, we arrived at the lift 15:30. At the station we found out that the lift was closing at 17:00, which meant that we'd have an hour max to chill on top and explore. Few moments later, we were like "Fuck it! We are going up and we'll see what happens." Upon arrival, we checked the map on our phones. "It's only a 5 hrs walk. We got it for sure." It sounded cool, previously thinking it would be close to 7 hrs, because we viewed the city getting smaller and smaller from the lift before. As eventually turned out, due to our last-minute along with the fuck-it mind set and determination, those 5 hrs spent in the nature of Vitosha - with its challenging downhills and beautiful scenery - were awesome despite draining a lot of our energy. And we were serious about the whole thing. We wouldn't let the night find us in the middle of an unknown forest. So, when we had to hurry, we kept on walking; when our calculations seemed to allow for a few minutes rest, we rested. Also, personally, I would like to point out that I was wearing the Vans canvas Slip-on during this whole journey. Just as soon as we'd reached flat ground and civilization again, it was awesome that we found a nice restaurant. Not only it was luxurious for our standards and had a nice front porch where our table was, there were also 3 offers for 1,5 ltr pints. In fact, during our stay in Sofia, we were having 5-star meals for less than 10 on the usual.

Skateboarding-wise, we went to a lot of spots: the legendary NDK square (shout out to, the Knyazheska Garden with its diy and glorious metal vert ramp, rough street spots and other sweet buttery-ground plazas. On the other hand, there are spots where we'd love to go and the clock didn't allow. One good example is Five High, an indoor skatepark on the fifth floor of an abandoned warehouse. Skateparks have tough luck, for the spirit of street skateboarding is always among our crew, since parks are a totally new thing in our homeland. Another good example is the Grindhouse Skateclub, featuring a live music venue with a bar and indoor mini ramp. This one must had been definitely on our list. Well, what can I say? There is always tomorrow, even if it never comes. I don't want to sound pessimistic but, being a skateboarder for fifteen years, I've come to learn that out of all the "next time" I've said, only 10% are working out. Sometimes it's the nerve to revisit a trick that kicked your ass or the spot doesn't exist anymore or it's in another country, like in this case.

During our stay in Sofia, being on a mission mode, we completely skipped partying. However, on the last day at midnight, me and Tony - since Mantilas and Tasos are not friends with alcohol - decided to check the nightlife district. Instead of raving, we ended up making friends with a hobo who wanted to drink our beers and, later, spending one hour at an outdoor vintage shop. This shop was located in the middle of a dark park and the owner was nowhere to be found, which struck us by surprise. In addition to this mysterious atmosphere, there was an old radio that, between glitches, was playing favorite classic rock tunes. We collected a drawing, a couple of early 20th century letters because of their stylish hand writing, and a notebook. We dropped a few leva in a box that said to pay as much as we wanted and we were on our way back to the apartment to pack for tomorrow's flight.

The legendary NDK square.

Funny fact: when spelling, in Greek it sounds like 'eleven'. Έντεκα.

This is the first spot we'd hit shortly after our arrival in Sofia. Actually, it was opposite our apartment in a nice park. There was a tavern next to the spot too, so this trick was performed with a full belly which raises difficulty.

Tasos Panayi - 'heavy' waist high BS Crooked

Tony Josephides - FS Boardslide warm up

Band photo.

"Five hours walk sounds good."

Pathway to adventure.

Vitosha Mountain, Sofia