Every weekend, I kidnap my girlfriends (that’s their favorite part of the weekend). We get the car and drive around the beauties of Greece. We usually get lost, since we still struggle with maps or any type of orientation. None of us has an internal compass. But every trip is fun when you have a nice company. Plus we get to discover things and explore places that were not our destination from the beginning.
During one of these small trips, the road was closed due to constructions. We had no idea as almost none of us read the local news. Therefore, we needed to change our plans and find some other way to get to the seaside to enjoy a cup of coffee. On our way there, we passed through the village Paleopirgos. This village has been the scenery of the famous Greek novel “The begar” by Andrew Karkavitsas.
There we met a strange house built of seashells. Oh yes, peculiar, but we had to find more and of course grab some pictures.
The house of seashells as it is widely known was built by Sotiris Bountouris. it is considered to be one of the most characteristic houses in Paleopyrgos, Larissa. Every little corner is a themed decoration referring to monuments or events.
Mr. Sotiris’ nephew was walking by so he invited us inside where we got to meet the creator of the house and learn his story. Mobile phones and cameras are out to capture every little aspect of this beauty even on a cloudy day.
Creativity Smells like sea spirit
Countless, thousands of shells, which since 2004 the 83-year-old Sotiris Boudouris has been picking from the surrounding shores, embroider this curious construction, which was in fact a candidate for the Guinness award! It is worth noting that this house was “invested” externally with thousands of shells and pebbles by its owner, depositing this way all his taste. This in Greek is called “meraki”!
The elder creator gathers seashells from the beaches of Kouloura, Palaiopyrgos, Messangala. And also the fishermen of Palaiopyrgos bring him presents stuck in their nets.
Destruction and revival
The house of seashells took 30 years to be built and was completely destroyed by a fire that broke out on a Saturday morning in February 2016. The old owner hung tough and prepared to rebuild it from scratch. It took him another 3 years to get it where it was.
The fire broke out for an unknown reason after 10 in the morning and the men of the Fire Brigade fought with the flames for four hours. When the fire was extinguished, the magnitude of the destruction inside the house was revealed, as it engulfed in the flames and it was totally burnt down. At the age of more than 80, with a small pension, Mr. Sotiris lived in the remnants of his house with his cat, that would never leave him. He did not ask for any alms, but he sought only the help of the Municipality of Tempi to clean the burnt house so that he could try to rebuild it. As long as his forces allowed him he did it again!
The house in the 6 spare rooms, hosts families coming with their kids every summer to enjoy the greek sun and sea and all kids see Mr. Sotiris as their grandpa.
If you happen to pass by, you should definitely stop and say “Hi!” to Mr. Sotiris. He’ll definitely appreciate some greek coffee and cookies.
The seashells tell stories brought from the ocean and create memories from all around the world.