Two years ago we visited Thalatta Camp, a very nice camping grounds in Chalkidiki, Greece. This year we also tried there, but unfortunately it was already full for the time, which we needed. Our second choice of camping was Armenistis (Google plus), located 30 km from Thalatta Camp in the same geographic region.
Armenistis Camp has in general everything, which a general camper will need. Shop, electricity for each camp spot, hot and cold water in public bathrooms and toilets. If you go for a bit more, there’s a restaurant, coffee and a beach bar.
If you, like us, prefer more stable accommodation, they also have mobile houses and caravans, which you can rent, so you can sleep on a (comfortable, to a degree) bed.
All the facilities are a bit worn out (more than they were at Thalatta two years ago), but still in a good, usable condition. The beach is a dream: calm, blue, water, clean and neat, and just 100m from our mobile house there.
The restaurant served excellent food, with a great, Greek moussaka and fresh fish.
Sounds like a great vacation, you’ll say? Unfortunately, not for me. The above is only half of all my requirements for a good vacation. What I was missing (and what I find very important, forming about 50% of my comfort) is the online connection to the world. Yes, they claim at their site that they have wireless. And they do, they even have 3 wireless networks: one (barely) visible in the mobile house, one at the restaurant and one at the coffee place.
However, someone has greatly misunderstood the meaning and purpose of the wireless network, i.e. the wireless network is meant to connect you to the Internet and provide you with stable access to it. Armenistis wireless is there, but after the gateway there’s the nightmare of the Internet connection quality from the last century:
- Ping times vary from 500 to 2500 ms in average;
- Speed is actually slower then if you had taken your bits on USB drive, went to Nikkiti, used a facility there and go back to the camping (Dropbox sync speed ~1.3KB/s, a bit slower than a 14.4 modem in 1995). Ping response, by the way, is also close to that…
- Constantly dropping out connections, constantly going haywire (until they reboot it)
…or in short: Internet quality for “marketing purposes only”, good to put on the web site that you “have Internet connection”, so they can get people like me on your hook. Because once you pay and get here… you have to “do your time”!
Expecting something like that, I decided to be prepared and I pre-purchased a Vodafone.gr prepaid card with 500MB Internet included. Guess what? Vodefone was even worse! And what can be worse than almost-non-existing quality in a connection? Yes, you got that right: no connection at all! When I was connected through that Vodefone card, I’ve got approx 95% ping loss, with survived ping responses varying from 5000-12000 ms (yes, 12 sec ping response, isn’t that great?). Of course, that made the local wireless look like shiny, gold quality provider, compared to the Vodafone…
So I ended up stuck for 5 days with one of the worst online experiences for the past years. But that actually tough me a good lesson: I’ll most probably never (ever!) go to any Greek camp, unless I get 100% confirmation by myself or a trustworthy person that the connection there is working. That automatically puts Armenistis out of future scope. Today we’ll drive to friends in Thalatta, so I’ll have the chance to check how it’s there. If it’s the same, Thlatta will also be out.
I believe it’s the Great Greek Crisis, which caused this misery. Of course, I’m not talking only about the economy crisis. It’s crisis everywhere: in the economy, in the mind, in the expectations and in the way you delivery on your job. Similar crisis to the one we’re experiencing in Bulgaria, but with much greater (by default) expectations. And of course, again with an “external enemy” :).
I find hard to believe that in normal circumstances Vodafone would live with such 80% signal coverage quality and 0% Internet connectivity over it.
Maybe the same “crisis” lame reason could be used as an excuse for the camp management… I do not know. But also, honestly, I do not care. For long time I’ve decided for myself that I won’t spend a vacation at “offline places”, and Armenistis looks like one of those.
BTW, as I started to speak about bad management, it’s worthy to note that the restaurant got out of local beer the first evening we arrived. No one there cared about supplying more, because they were expecting to close in a week, so their customers were not important for them – it was much more important to sell all the remaining beer… Of course, their wireless network was only “local access only”, so its quality matched the lack of beer :).
So, if you want a calm (in the beginning of September), pleasant, acceptable for camp standards environment, with excellent seaside and acceptable prices, then Armenistis is a good camp for you.
If you’re an online person like me, then by all means try to avoid that place, or you’ll get screwed badly by their “online facilities”.
If you still decide to risk it and come, here’re some logistics (as of today, September 12th):
- The nearest “bigger town” is Nikiti. There on the main street you can also find the Vodafone.gr shop, where you can buy an unusable for data connection in Armenistis prepaid SIM card;
- Google Maps location for Armenistis Camp;
- Google+ profile for the Armenistis Camp, with some nasty pictures of the worn out facilities;
- Armenistis Camp website, which claims that their wireless is actually present.