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Santorini Camping

June 19, 2007

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We feel like the Swiss Family Robinson in our profoundly peaceful spot in nature with an ocean view, near one of the biggest trees in Santorini and shaded well by it and bamboo, grapevines, smaller trees and Bougainvillea. What an idyllic spot and it is glorious to have so much privacy at a campground in Europe as they usually pack them in quite tightly like our recent experience in Athens. This is not a luxurious campground like the ones we stayed at in Tuscany, Barcelona and Venice, but has its own special island allure.

Even “Brotherleelove” from the Fodor’s travel forum (who is a native and seems to know everything about Greece and Santorini) did not know RV’s could camp here, but when we arrived, there was a fairly large one from France (lots bigger than ours) and two vans from Germany. Later we saw a very large one from Italy, so other brave souls make this journey. They were all crunched together European style on a hard flat surface (without shade) near the pool, that did not look inviting to us at all, so we were glad they gave us another choice.

Most people who come here are backpackers and they also have nice but small bungalows that are the typical white Greek buildings with colorful flowers all around and we hear it is packed in July and August. Luckily, hardly anyone was here when we arrived and we decided to take the whole lower level with the ocean views to ourselves. Actually we just took one spot, but there was only one empty tent (for a local who works there and sleeps here when it is hot at home), so it felt like we had this huge space, with its ramshackle charm and nature, all to ourselves.

All the people here from the owner George, to Nickolas, to the waitress and bartender on down were really wonderful, caring and very helpful. They even got a saw and took off one of the lower branches of our big tree so we could fit better. They have internet at the pool for a reasonable price, restaurant with good food and a store (with basics) and the town of Fira, unbelievably, is only 350 meters up the road to the main square. Locations do not get much better than this.

It is like a different world here at the campsite (compared to the busy town) and so peaceful, plus with everything we need within close walking distance, so we got out the barbecue ,undid bikes, made ourselves at home and settled in for a long stay. We did not mean to stay so long originally, but it was just too delicious not to take advantage of this opportunity and felt right. This is the kind of place we could stay for months and could even winter here I imagine. I decided to redo my whole Turkey and Greece part of the trip to work around this as it was just too good to leave.

There is a ton of room for Mozart to run around, ride her bike, scoop dirt, make things out of nothing, catch Greek “ladybugs”, and pretend in nature. We also need to catch up with things like piano and do more thorough home school which sometimes gets dropped or shortened  on tour days or fast travel times. There are cute cats here and she loves to feed the nearby donkeys. She loves to go exploring in town and has been given tons of free things as Greeks seem to love children and we have not run into that many kids here yet, as I suppose most were
still in school.

The pool is wonderful and provides endless entertainment and cooling for Mozart and us (plus everyone here as it is the meeting spot). The day starts with the most glorious bright orange sunrise over the pool (although the night guard and I are usually the only ones who get to enjoy it). I sometimes do a little work on the internet near the pool after taking in this glorious sight and while I let Mozart and DaVinci sleep in a bit. The restaurant, bar, and internet computers are all at the pool area and it is a very comfortable, inviting spot.

So far it has never been crowded, but we often meet some people as they all seem to be attracted to our half human-half dolphin little girl who swims like a fish and is hard to keep out of the pool. Her endless energy is put to good use as she does a well perfected front crawl back and forth umpteen times or throws a coin into the deep end to retrieve it. She has now taken on the European way of mostly just wearing bottoms and has all but worn out two of her suits from the chlorine.

We put sunscreen on like crazy and try to stay out of the sun during the hottest hours, but still we are all turning browner. The days are hot here, but it is not humid which I appreciate and there is always a breeze, so always cool in the shade and  at night. There is a lot of room and the campsite plus extra tables and chairs and the pool area is also very comfortable and just a short walk away.

There is an endless summer vibe here as the good soundtrack, sun, endless breezes, cool azure pool water backed by blue ocean and waving Greek flag lulls one into a hypnotized state of bliss. We easily lose track of time and day and people come and go. We have met a few Americans, but mostly people from  France, Netherlands, Germany, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Ireland, Scotland and Greece. There are all ages, but youngish backpackers are the majority.

As I look at their tiny tents and heavy packs, I feel like we are the “Hillsborough” section of the campsite and am so grateful for out little RV that suddenly seems huge and luxurious. Size really is relative and I am amazed that they can travel long term with so very little. We have been on the road again for three months now and so far our compact quarters has not been a problem. Perhaps they adjust to the size restraints just like we do. That part is easier than I expected it to be and is a good lesson on how very little we really need.

Oh, there are moments when it gets annoying, but for the most part it is very comfortable even when all three of us are inside for extended times as we have found ways to make it work and also use the outside area. The barbecue has been a real good idea since we love steak or chicken and salads for dinner and do not want to heat up the insides with the stove at that time. We have been very pleased with the nearby butchery.

We have rented a car a few times to explore the island as it is the easiest way to get around although not as cheap as the crowded busses that go everywhere. It is not a fancy place here, but so very comfortable and cozy (and we negotiated a good long stay price) that it will be very hard to leave. It would be a very nice spot to spend the summer and Santorini is so magical and peaceful that I could see living here. We love Camping Santorini (santocam@otenet.gr)!

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