We booked a very last minute (for us) trip to Santorini for some summer sun before our November holiday. Late June was ideal to avoid the School Holiday crowd but still get great weather. As the flights had shot up we took a gamble on a Thomson charter flight which meant very anti social flight times on the way out. Our Monday and Tuesday was somewhat blurred together as we left the house at 2.30am for our 6am flight. I managed a full one hours sleep after a midnight dash to the supermarket to stock up on a few forgotten items. I was in a constant rush as I had only just arrived back from an international work trip so it was a quick turnaround to repack and set back off again!
We set off for Gatwick on time, different from our usual ‘base’ of Heathrow. This meant a bit longer a drive, and typically at this anti social time of night the roadworks were out in full force. This meant a few scenic deviations from the motorway through country towns. This resulted in a bit of a delay but we pulled it back. Being the over rushed idiots that we were we had also completely bypassed the checking in part which resulted in us sitting apart on the plane. Clearly we’ve become too reliant on the British Airways iPhone app which makes life too easy.
To add to this we were informed as soon as we sat in our seats we had a two hour delay – over six hours in total with no free water, so I’d gladly pay the extra to fly BA (or even easy jet) next time.
I spent the entire flight buried in a book and finally we touched down in Santorini. Our bags shot out speedily and we were on our way to collect our hire car. We had our first ‘Welcome to the Greek Islands’ moment when we sauntered over to the Budget rental desk and it looked like nobody was there. We were a bit perplexed and then we spotted the top of a balding head! Turns out Andreas had been working an almost 24 hour shift and was fitting in a cheeky snooze in-between flights!
He was a really nice guy with some hilarious jokes and facts to share with us. Chris had caught the sun in the few days before we left and Andreas described his look as a “grilled lobster”, I appreciated this after the painful flight! Another guy showed us to our very retro, burnt orange car, and we left with some entertaining instructions and a doodled map from Andreas to our hotel location in Kamari.
We were staying in Hotel Artemis, which travelling by car is a bit of a pig to find – mostly due to Google Maps and the residents of Kamari not having a clue where the place is! Eventually between phoning the front desk and finally finding someone who had a rough idea of the location we found the hotel and got checked in. The hotel grounds were nice enough, but this is definitely a budget hotel. We were on a stricter budget than usual so this was to be expected, and for the price the pool and surroundings were adequate.
Unfortunately we drew the short straw with the tiniest room on the first floor facing the road which was really noisy. One thing to note if you’re considering staying here is that the beds are probably the hardest I have ever experienced, and that is after plenty of time travelling & working in Asia which is renowned for it’s hard beds! They were probably about as soft as napping on a solid oak table with a cotton sheet laid across it!
Chris and I set out to explore the Kamari beach area, me feeling a bit zombie-like in my sleep deprived state. We took our first paddle in a black sand beach and enjoyed the sunshine for a bit. The beach was busier than I expected with lots of cute dogs playing around. On our quest for some food we found ourselves at Levante Café, which was my breakfast, lunch and dinner rolled into one as I had only munched a few blackberries up until this point.
I chose a feta, pine nut and chicken salad, whilst Chris made the stereotypical man choice of a burger and beer. I treated myself to a cocktail in the hope it would perk me up and keep me awake. We took our beachfront seats and indulged in some people watching. The food was OK, I think Chris’ was better than mine but I did get to try the Santorini tomatoes in my salad. Afterward we strolled along the beach promenade and had another paddle, before finding a supermarket to explore. I have a bit of a thing for foreign supermarkets and like to load up on things to bring home to try. We each got a gelato and headed back to the room to relax and sleep.