Before reaching the city of Kayseri I spend some marvelous days in Göreme, a town located in the Cappadocia area. The open-air museum is conformed with such beautiful places, that it formed one of the most memorable moments of my journey. The visit to the “fairy chimneys” rock formations in the Rose and Red valley, left me in awe. The weather was still pleasant, so I settled in one of the so many camping spots surrounding the area. The first day, I was the only camper around, but that changed when some Turkish university students spend a night at the camp grounds. Earlier that day, as I was cleaning “la paloma negra”, one of the members of the group, Volkan Ö (who was the only one of the group that could speak English), approached me and asked who I was and what I was doing. Soon the other group members gathered around. They invited me to join them that evening for some BBQ and beers. The night passed rapidly talking about life, the difference between European and Turkish life and me answering a bunch of personal questions. Volkan served as translator.
The next day I set off for Kayseri, where Recep, a warmshowers member, had agreed to host me. I was his second guest. That night I arrived late to his place. I didn’t imagine the city of Kayseri to be that big. It took me a while to cross the city and it wasn’t easy to find the exact location of the apartment building where Recep lived. Google maps or the other GPS apps on my smartphone didn’t find the address. But after a few calls and some guidance using landmarks I finally got there. After this experience I always ask my potential hosts, if their kind enough to share the latitude and longitude coordinates of their home. With this data I don’t need online connection and can locate the meeting point in the GPS app.
Recep lives in a student neighborhood located in the eastern part of the city and shares an apartment with three other guys who still are students. Recep is a recent Industrial Designer graduate and works as a product manager in a company that manufactures domestic appliances. He is native to a village nearby the city of Konya (city I still regret not have visited) where his father is a farmer.
I spend just a few hours with Recep that night, as he had an early start the next morning. He prepared a dinner of eggs and home made beef sausage. His family had sacrificed a cow during the Kurban Bayrami, so his fridge was stocked with a lot of meat. The rest of the night we spend repairing the chain of his bicycle and talking about Turkish customs; the compulsory military service (as a recent university graduate he has to present himself for service); religion and girls. About the last topic, he shared that his family was putting some pressure on him to find a suitable wife. The topic came about because of me being thirty five years old and single, and he was curious how my family thought about that.
The next morning I didn’t see Recep as he had left early. He gave me a prayer beads as a good bye gift and made sure that I had breakfast before I left. Afterwards I packed my stuff, loaded the bike and closed the door of another home that had been kind to me and maybe never see again.
Muchas gracias Recep!!!