An evening in Kastamonu, Turkey with a perfect Warmshowers host & his friends
An evening in Kastamonu, Turkey with a perfect Warmshowers host & his friendsJuly
We hadn’t stayed with a warmshowers host since Slovenia, so you can imagine how thrilled we were when Behiç accepted us into his home.
We had a perfect evening
In one evening we wandered around Katamonu, went out for dinner and were introduced to Behiç’s wonderful, kind and hospitable friends, Can, Guzin, Omer, and Pinar.
On the day we arrived it was pouring with rain.Behiç came out to meet us when we were 10kms away to show us the way. He took all the luggage from the bikes in his car, so we rode the last 10km unloaded. This was so helpful! For the first time I felt super-strong riding the unloaded bike, but the downhill and tail wind might’ve contributed to that more than I’d like to admit!
We were Behiç’s first warmshowers guests, but he’d hosted cyclists before through Couch Surfing. In fact, he’d hosted Pedalling Prescott’s, a cycling couple who’d inspired our ride.
Before we set off we’d read their blogs for tips and routes. It felt pretty exciting to know we now had mutual connection! Actually I contacted them recently – they’re still in New Zealand and we hope we might cycle near their home so we can exchange stories.
The perfect host
Behiç was the perfect host, which wasn’t surprising – warmshowers hosts are always so wonderful, and hospitality is clearly such an important part of Turkish culture.
Shortly after we arrived at Behiç’s home he popped out and left us in his home. He encouraged us to make ourselves at home, take a shower, wash our clothes and relax. When he returned we had a Turkish Coffee, some Cay and a chat, then, much to our surprise we went out for dinner.
Cem Sultan Bedesteni
The restaurant chosen by Behiç and his friends was Cem Sultan Bedesteni in Katamontu. It was near the mosque in town. It was a beautiful, old stone building with large stone arches. The building had been renovated, giving a modern twist – and allowing diners to eat indoors.
We bravely let Behiç’s friend, Can order for us. We like to enjoy food as enjoyed by the locals, and what better way is there to achieve this? We nodded eagerly at whatever Cem suggested and we were provided with a feast. I was slightly nervous when our decision to try the “Raki” was questioned, by the other diners, but when in Turkey…
We tried all sorts of food – to start we had Raki (like Ouzo), the best melon I’ve ever tasted, feta cheese, we had a type of sea weed (I think) and delicious mashed aubergine. I’ve tried mashed aubergine here a few times and it’s just perfect – something else to cook when we’re home.
For the main course we had a selection of meats – some spiced, lamb, steak, beef that was thinly cut – it was like prosciutto, but beef, and of course our choice of sides – rice, bread, salad.
We had a great night together and later we walked around the town. We were lucky to meet these guys. Everyone spoke English, but Omar and Pinar were both lecturers at the university – their English was perfect!
Dinner with Behic and his friends really topped off the night. I think it will be one of the strongest memories of the trip. It was a perfect evening towards the end of our cycling days through Turkey – it really encompasses everything that Turkey has to offer.
The next day we hoped to cycle a few miles with Behiç, but it didn’t work out – we were were cycling 100kms that day so we had to leave early. However, we did meet Can 20kms in as we were passing his home. As we enjoyed a lamb and rice meal in a cafe he drove out to meet us one last time.
Thank you so much Behiç, Can, Guzin, Omer, and Pinar we had a really special evening with you all. A perfect night to bring together everything we’ve loved about Turkey – and I mean really loved; the hospitality, the wonderful people, the food and the place. We will look back on this evening fondly and if ever any of you are in England we will make sure you have a wonderful stay with us!