Friday, July 18, 2008

Kamari, the Beach

The Black beach of Kamari behind the mountain where the ancient settlement of Thira (Santorinis old name) is situated.

As this was our summer beach holiday, we stayed nearby Kamari Beach in Santorini Island. Due to the island being what now remains from a massive volcanic eruption during the height of the Minoan civilization sometime 3,600 years ago, the beach stones and sand are black. When you dip in the water, you don’t feel stones and sand tingling under your feet but huge slabs of compounded stone that solidified throughout the ages on the shore.

In Kamari, the Greek colors of white and blue are also plenteous. And a picture of a typical Greek Orthodox Church.

The beach is 3-kilometers long filled with parasols and sun beds that can be rented all day. It is located in the south of the island nearby the airport. Everyday, every hour, we could see the planes go down, so near that the beach area is a perfect place to sit down with a glass of cold drink and airplane watch. Otherwise, lounging by the pool or lying down on an airbed on the pool is Dutchman’s idea of perfect enjoyment and relaxation while I keep reminding him its time we visit some little Greek village and partake in the local culture. He frowns on this by the way.

The Kamari Boulevard along the beach coast; a nice place to walk, eat, drink, shop, and be seen during the day, and also at night. It is always busy here even late into the evening after midnight.

What I love with Kamari is the gezellig boulevard; very chic, busy, colorful, and lively at night. The shops bring in a breath of fresh air. Here in Kamari, they are not selling rubbish like in many popular touristy places. However, I noticed that many of the little boutique shops were selling designer labels from the last season or two with 50% discount on the tags. Still, the items were quite expensive when you are talking about prices starting at €1,000 or €500, which gives you already an idea what type of holidaymakers come to Santorini.

Mythos is the local beer brand and this is the famed Greek yoghurt with honey and crushed walnuts. Super yummy! As for the white wine in this picture, it was my worst ever that I swore I would never ever drink house wine from then on. The next day I avoided wine and ordered bitter lemon for dinner. This white wine on the foto totally ruined my wine appetite for 2 days, lol.

Dutchman and I dined in different restaurants every evening which he did not really fancy at all arguing that my cooking at home was way, way better. Hah! Well, I’ve only had seafood the whole time; Greek salads for lunches and Greek yoghurt with honey and walnuts too. I always say this every time -- you can never have a great Greek salad or Greek yoghurt outside Greece. The tomatoes here are sweet and crunchy; the onions sweet too?, the yoghurt packed and creamy, and the honey so, so thick. It’s never the same anywhere else.

Menus outside the restaurant - I like how the menu boards are displayed creatively on the roadside.

So the explanation I received from the locals is, it’s because of the dark vulcanic soil and the mineral properties that go with it making the vegetables sweet. And speaking of the subject sweet – the island is also known for its production of sweet white wine. It is interesting to note that the vineyards here are cultivated so low. The vines crawl on the grounds as opposed to climbing on a wooden trellis. The island is so windy (like the coast of the Netherlands) that it is not practical to build vineyard trellises as they will only capsize like what happened to our parasol in the balcony one day. Nowadays wine has become a supplement to the number one industry in the island, tourism.

Going back to dinners, I think the best dinner I had was the grilled tuna in the boulevard. I actually ordered a different seafood dish called Spetsioteko Psari. The waiter who attended to us strikes me as someone who was a bit dodgy said they only serve the dish during winter. He further explained while looking at my frame with sleepy eyes that I would not want to eat it for dinner as it would be too heavy for my stomach. He gave me a grin that totally spoke of -- trust me, I am the waiter or I could be the damn chef so I know! In turn, I asked what he can recommend from the house. He replied confidently, with pride – tuna, we have the best tuna. Alright then, I am taking tuna, grill it, and make it well done for me please... Ah, it was the best seafood dinner, grilled tuna with courgette on the side I ever had in this holiday. Thanks to this dodgy looking waiter.

More pictures of Kamari by night (a few of our dinners and mostly our bar hopping activities):

Pictures of Kamari by day:

In summary, if I were to recommend a beach place to stay, it will be Kamari. Between the 2 busy beaches in Santorini, Perissa (which I will be posting an entry and pictures later) and Kamari – Kamari is the place to be.

Travel Period: July 2008
Destination: Kamari (Santorini - Cyclades Islands), Greece

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