Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Santorini Summer Camp


The exhaustion helped keep my excitement somewhat at bay, but even so I was pumped to finally be in Santorini! KJ and I collected our sidekicks from baggage claim, and she once again scoffed at my excessive luggage. We stepped outside to find the local city bus, since we were on a budget, after all. The heat enveloped us like an unwanted warm woolly sweater in the middle of summer. I couldn’t wait to take a cold shower.

We found the bus stop and eagerly awaited for our chariot to arrive. Luckily we didn’t have to wait long and were rewarded with two open seats just right for mine and KJ’s asses.  While celebrating this small victory, we secondhand smoked a pack of cigarettes on account the driver was a committed chain smoker and enjoying his favorite pastime whilst driving. The bus situation was an interesting one. It was jam packed for one, and techno club music was pumping.  People stood in the aisles and by stood I mean leaned into every nook and cranny. It was elbow city up in there. The bus driver’s minion collected money for the tickets, squeezing his way through the too crowded aisles. It was stifling hot. The minion took our money while simultaneously leaning over me to get by. I cringed as a large drop of his sweat started to fall mere millimeters from my face. I leaned inward to KJ’s seat, narrowly missing the imminent splashdown.

Just then, because the bus wasn’t crowded enough, two women with a gaggle of children, including a tiny infant boarded the bus. A clubby bus was no place for a baby, I thought!

After our eventful bus ride and the long journey we had endured, we were more than ready to be at our lodging. Only thing was, because of budget reasons, we were to be staying at a place called “Santorini Camping and Rooms.” I had reserved us in the “rooms” part, but still, I didn’t have high hopes for this one. After a quick consultation with a local at the bus stop, we were en route to Camp. We walked, trudging really, weighed down by our packs. Me with Bertha’s little sister rolling along as well. Three hills later I looked at KJ, sweat dripping down my face. Without any words, we knew what we were both thinking. If we had to come down 3 hills to get to camp…we’d have to come up three hills to get to town.  What goes down, must come…up?


We approached Santorini Camping (and rooms) wearily. We were greeted by the resident Camp dog, who I deemed as Oreo, naturally. Classic name for a black and white dog, that despite it’s cheesiness, I’ve always wanted to use.  He took no notice of us, seeing as he was hard at work tearing apart some sort of meat on a bone that resembled a chicken wing. “Whatchya got there buddy?” I asked him. He ignored me.
 
camp vehicle: seems legit.
Check in was much like you’d expect for summer camp. The Camp Counselor informed us we must pay in cash. Music blared at the pool next to the office. Teenie boppers milled around their tents. Oreo tore at his meat.  

Oreo: post feast
Counselor led us to our humble abode for the next 4 nights and I’d be lying if I wasn’t slightly terrified to see what was on the other side of that door. KJ’s face mirrored my thoughts.

There was just enough room for our bags in the room. That was about it. Counselor left us to it.  First things first, we needed to hit the showers. I thanked God we had our own, and didn’t need to experience the communal Camp showers.  The only wifi was in the pool/bar area so I opted for second shower and ventured out there as crusty as ever with sweat. It was peak time for club Camp, techno music blaring at a ridiculous decibel.

We got ready and decided to head out for our first and well-deserved Greek meal. Despite having our own room, we figured it best to lock some important things in the safe. But, silly us; it refused to open. The Camp office would be hearing about this.

“The safes don’t work. None of them. DON’T use them” …is what every traveler wants to hear. Counselor shared the news as nonchalantly as if he was telling us he prefers grape jelly over strawberry. We were none too impressed.

Hunger won this battle and we started the trek into the town of Fira up our favorite 3 hills. 

After the first hill we were sweaty again. 
After the second hill I cursed all hills in existence. 
After the third hill, we may as well not have showered.  

A large bottle of wine was in order. We found a cozy spot at an outdoor table at Pelican Cafe & Wine Restaurant. The last 36 hours started to melt away. Then, I had the best Greek salad of my life.  And, although I’d probably regret it tomorrow, that brick of Feta didn’t stand a chance.



The wine made our return to Camp a little less harrowing, and as we got back to our room the exhaustion from the past couple days of travel hit me real good. We may have been staying at Santorini Summer Camp…but the bed greeted me like an old friend.



*I recommend grabbing food and enjoying the outdoor seating in Fira at Pelican Cafe: http://www.pelican.gr/cafe-winerestaurant/

*I DO NOT recommend staying at the Santorini Camping and Rooms. That is all.



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