My time in Oia was last minute and unexpected. I had intended to arrive to Santorini on September 3, but when I told Barbara about the photo shoot, she wanted to do it, too. Because she was flying back to NYC on the 3rd, we had to plan it a day earlier. I booked Oia because it was one city on the island I didn’t know if I was going to get to, and one that you shouldn’t miss.
As Saturday morning rolled around, I enjoyed another Marcos Rooms breakfast, same as the day before. The couple was very confused that Barbara wasn’t with me any longer and I had to try to explain she had left the day before. The woman had made 2 breakfasts, and seemed a little miffed that she didn’t know otherwise. Not my fault! The reservation was for one!
At any rate, I packed up my bags and headed toward the bus station. Typically, I’m pretty good at navigating my way around, but for the life of me I couldn’t remember how to get to the bus station! As I trekked the uneven sidewalks I cursed myself for having more than just my backpack. My roller bag would never roll on the rocky sidewalk, and if it did, it would be sure to break. I don’t need a broken bag for the next 17 days, so I put my fitchic skills to work and carried that sucker for an eternity… up hills, down hills, up stairs… and finally, I made it.
The bus was to depart at 1:40PM, and I arrived just after. The bus was there, but I soon realized it was the 2:00PM bus. Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait out in the sun for the bus to arrive like yesterday, however, once I boarded I realized it was not adequately air conditioned. It reminded me of Chinatown in NYC in the summer. If you’ve been there, you understand – lots of sweaty bodies in a confined space.
I was on my way to Kamari, the next destination for my near week in Santorini. Oia is on the caldera side of the island. The caldera is a large volcanic crater that was formed after a major eruption occurring thousands of years ago, collapsing the mouth of the volcano. Kamari, on the other hand, is on the east side of the island. It is flat with black sand beaches from the lava rock. (There’s also a red sand and a white sand beach, but they aren’t easy to get to by foot).
When I arrived in Kamari I was required to walk only a short distance to get to my hotel: Blue Waves Hotel. When I entered the reception area, I was greeted by a very nice woman at the front desk. Evidently I had booked a transfer from the airport when I made the hotel reservation, and completely forgotten when I decided to come a day earlier. I felt horrible about it! The driver had waited for a while to be sure he didn’t leave me. They were genuinely worried about me rather than upset I didn’t notify them. I felt even worse when she told me I was very lucky to receive one of their best rooms. The room is safely positioned behind the front desk, and is equipped with a kitchen, bathroom and full size bed with a balcony that looks out over the pool and to the pool rooftop terrace. But wait, it gets better! I have a television (that I probably won’t watch), and AIR CONDITIONING!!! Honestly, it’s been in the 70s and I would be content with keeping the balcony doors open. However, the pool terrace is directly across from my balcony, so my need for privacy has kept those doors closed more often than not.
As the woman was showing me around my room, the manager of the hotel, Yannis, came in and introduced himself and told me to go down to the pool bar for a welcome drink when I get settled! Loving this place!
I took a minute to relax and get organized and then stepped outside to meet Michael, the bartender, who whipped me up a delicious little cocktail… made with ouzo. He said he makes it more “softly” by adding lemon juice and grenadine. I feared the strong black licorice aperitif, but instead enjoyed a delicious little gem of a cocktail. I took it up to the pool rooftop terrace to check out the scenery and relax.
When I finished my drink, I took it back down to the bar so I could head out on the town and explore. I ended up having a nice conversation with Michael, who is from Romania. He lives here in Santorini and works 7 days a week, for approximately 12 hours. He does get a 2 hour break from about 2:00-4:00, but he usually naps during that time. When the high season ends in November, 90% of the island’s businesses close down, and he takes 6 months off. If he’s been able to save enough money, he travels. Sometimes he goes back to Romania for a couple of months. I can’t imagine working that much. I’m not sure it would be worth it to have 6 months off. During our conversation, he pointed out the ouzo bottle had only enough ouzo left in it for one more drink, so he gave me another on the house. I was a little worried, but the addition of the other ingredients results in a lot less ouzo than if served alone, and I tolerated it much better.
Off into Kamari I went. My hotel is placed conveniently next to the beach. I was advised: “Turn left and you will go to the beach. Turn right and you will go to the beach.” Easy directions. I like it. It’s safe to say the beach is only a 2 minute walk away, regardless of which direction I go.
I turned left and headed over to the mountain that interrupts the beach. There was a little dome in the side of the mountain and I was curious to see what it was. When I got over there, it was simply a dome in the side of the mountain with graffiti everywhere, but I did get a pretty fabulous view of Kamari Beach!
When I was done taking photos, I decided to walk along the promenade. Many a Greek server was trying to get me into their restaurant. While I am always hungry, my goal was to sightsee and take a look at my options. All of them. Nonetheless, I always try to be friendly, (but not overly friendly, DAD, as I don’t want to give the wrong impression). I slight smile and a “hello” or “no, thank you” and keep walking. One man said something to me about smiling, and I said, “I am smiling.” He replied, “I know you are! No one smiles ever!” It made me giggle, and what I thought was him thinking I was rude, was actually a compliment for having a smile! It pays to smile, and can brighten someone else’s day!
I got to the end of the promenade and noticed an area where they provide beachside Thai massage. Yes, please! Unfortunately, they had gone for the day, but they had their prices posted and I vowed I would come back the next day and get one. When Lisa, Raina and I were in Costa Rica in January, Lisa and I decided on the last day to get a beachside massage. We had heard about it at the last minute, and decided we could fit it in before we had to leave. Unfortunately, when we got there, only one massage therapist was available and Lisa had already scooped her up. Lisa enjoyed a beautiful beachside massage, while I enjoyed a seat by the pool. Still, I can’t complain. But I am getting my beachside massage this time!!!!
I walked over to the water and saw that there is no sand – only black pebbles, ranging from very small, to large enough to feel like a lego. My feet are already mad at me for working 4-5 days a week since June, and now all the walking on uneven surfaces. The rocks only angered them further. I walked back up to the promenade and set out to find a restaurant.
I wanted something off the beaten path. I know the beachside restaurants would be more expensive, and I really just wanted an authentic Greek meal. It didn’t have to be anything fancy. As I weaved through the streets, I didn’t find anything that looked appealing. I eventually went back to the beach and as I entered the promenade, saw Navy’s Restaurant, a cute little place I’d taken note of as I was passing through before. I figured it must be a sign that I should eat there, and let me tell you, I was not disappointed.
I ordered the usual Tzatziki with pita bread (yummy), Greek salad, and planned for an entree, but I simply didn’t have any room left.
I also enjoyed some chilled bottled water and a glass of white wine. Water is so difficult to consume regularly when traveling abroad. You never know if you will have access to a restroom. My water consumption gets a D- so far.
After finishing dinner, I walked back to the hotel with plans to go to bed early so I could wake up and catch the sunrise from the beach. I fell asleep briefly and then woke up. As I was doing a few things before going back to sleep, I received a FaceTime call from my dad, so we chatted for a bit. When we concluded our conversation, I was wide awake. I worked on some blogging, and a few other things. I did a little research on Trip Advisor. Before I knew it, it was 6:00AM and I was watching the sunrise from my balcony. Absolutely gorgeous! The sunrise doesn’t get enough credit around here! I will make sure I get to the beach for the sunrise tomorrow!