There are two established camping grounds on Kefalonia; Camping Argostoli and Camping Karavomilos Beach on the opposite side of the island, near the port town of Sami. Both are a short walk from the beach and have a similar pricing structure, yet in most other ways they are quite different.
We left Camping Argostoli after four nights, not because we wanted to leave but because we knew we had to keep moving if we wanted to see other parts of the country. One of the staff kindly offered to drive us to the nearest bus station at a considerably better price than a local taxi. The bus to Sami ran twice daily; a 45 minute journey across the mountainous interior of the island. On the afternoon of our journey, the bus was full with lots of school kids, most of whom were dropped off at various points along the way. After the bus descended into the town of Sami it continued its route out towards the camping ground, and dropped us off only a few hundred metres from the entrance.
Camping Karavomilos Beach is the oldest of the two camping grounds. It was constructed over 30 years ago and is significantly more established than Camping Argostoli. It has more sites available, more abundant shade, larger and more modern kitchens and shower blocks and a small on-site shop providing basic supplies.
Perhaps the most stand-out feature however is the outdoor pool and relaxation area. From the numerous umbrella/recliner combinations scattered on a grassy lawn next to the pool, there are views of the sea, the northern tip of Kefalonia and the island of Ithaca. There is a jacuzzi, outdoor shower with hot water, change-rooms and a bar/restaurant area, all quite tastefully designed and laid out, to form a set of facilities one would more commonly expect at a pricier beach-side resort.
Because it was late in the season, the pool area attracted what seemed to be mostly heavily bronzed British retirees, with a few Italians and Germans as well. Clad in swimming trunks or light casual wear, they would congregate around the recliners, usually from late in the morning and spend most of the day lazing in the sun, drinking alcohol and sampling small plates of food. Some might read a book or a Kindle or occasionally go for a dip in the pool, but mostly they appeared to be dozing in a semi-conscious state of blissful resignation to their surroundings.
As nice as it all appeared on the surface, there was something about the whole resort-style culture that I found quite unsettling. I was missing the back-to-basics simplicity and more natural and down-to-earth feel of Camping Argostoli. It would take another day before I began to feel more relaxed and comfortable with where I was, and what helped most with this was an excursion away from the ‘resort’ to discover some of the things that make Sami and its surroundings so special.