All about ‘glamping’…
Not for noting do I call myself the ‘glamour granny’. I’m the first to admit that I just love a touch of glitz, that I prefer silk to polyester and won’t leave home without lip gloss. In fact, I don’t even stay home without. This however isn’t just vanity, for me it has a lot to do with discipline and self respect. Start letting yourself go and the rest of your life will very fast follow suit.
When it comes to travel I like style and comfort too. I’m not opposed to adventure, mud, pot holes, deserts, dust, heat and tropical rain. As long as I can find refuge somewhere to clean up., preferably free of cockroaches, snakes and scorpions or any kind of creepy crawleys. Which is, why I’m not fond of camping. Having said that, life can throw you a curve and the ‘art’ is to make the best of it, accept circumstances gracefully and bring a touch of glamour into the inevitable. Which is then called ‘glamping’. So far, I’ve only once been confronted with such a situation and here is the story for you to enjoy.
Last I went on a Greek island hopping trip. One of my stops was the Cyclades island of Naxos where I was to meet a writer friend . I knew that the lady in question was a camping fan, something I had never done in my life and, frankly had no intention of trying out now. But, she assured me that the camping site of Agia Nicolaos was very clean pretty and that they also had cabins for those who didn’t want to rough it in a tent. Then she kindly made a reservation for me.
I arrived in Naxos via ferry from Mykonos, my friend was waiting for me at the terminal and we made our happy way to Agia Nicolaos. I proceeded to the reception of the camp site, where the lady informed me, that, regrettably, they had no vacancy for a cabin. “But”, she continued with a broad grin, “you can have a tent. We’ll also give you a sleeping bag and a mattress”. My dismay latest only for a few moments, then my spirit of adventure took over. Why ever not? Let’s see if I can’t find some glamour in sleeping au naturel and try out the concept of ‘glamping’.
I didn’t feel like going to hunt for other accommodation, I wanted to see the island and have fun with my friend. “Will you pitch the tent next to my friend’s?” I asked. “Sure,” she said and sent me off with an attendant to fix up my new lodgings. I can tell you, my courage nearly left me when I saw the tent. It barely reached my waist fully pitched, the so called mattress was paper-thin and so was the sleeping bag.
First I learned how to crawl in and out without bringing the whole thing down. If you look at it the right way, it’s actually good exercise. Knee bents and push ups out of necessity. Next came a quick trip to the supermarket and the acquisition of a tiny pillow and two brightly colored beach towels. Hey presto, my ‘home’ was complete.
After much giggles we returned to Naxos town for some sightseeing and food. I was delighted with Naxos’ Venetian past. A massive castle and ancient houses tower above the harbor and city. We entered by what’s called the old market and just meandered through for hours, enjoying new sights at every twist and turn.
Then we returned to the harbor and walked across the causeway to admire Naxos’ most famous landmark: the remaining columns of an Apollo temple, rising sky high on a tiny island surrounded by the crashing waves of the sea. You get well sprayed on the walk across the causeway too and if the typical strong wind is blowing you better be careful.
Stomachs started to growl and we had octopus in one of the many restaurants topped by the best and most lavish dish of ice cream I had eaten in a long time.
Evening fell and after a few fortifying ouzos and watching the sun go down over the beach in Agia Nicolaos the real challenge started by trying to get my clothes off in my tiny tent without making a spectacle of myself and to find a more or less comfortable position to sleep. Surprisingly, I wasn’t as stiff as I thought I might be when dawn broke and I decided to get up and have a shower. Communal shower of course. I approached and heard already laughter, the running of water and, definitely mixed voices coming from the ladies. What can I tell you? A bunch of young French girls and boys were having themselves a party in the shower and stopped dead when I entered. For a moment they gave me the evil eye, waiting to see if the ‘granny’ would get upset.
I couldn’t help but laugh and simply asked if I could join the party. Out came a gallon bottle of cheap red wine, some plastic glasses and a tub of melting chocolate ice cream. I was invited to help myself to both and took a swig of the wine, but passed on the ice cream. One shower stall was graciously vacated for me and we parted company with many wished for a happy holiday.
The glamour crisis was averted because tent, insects and communal showers or not: you can manage everything in style. It’s just a question of the right attitude.