Saturday, 17 Oct 2015 – Our trip started with an early-morning ride across campus to meet up with others, and the bus, on the university campus. Off we go, 150 miles north to the city of Kastamonu, just south of the Black Sea in central Turkey. A couple hours in we had the customary bio-break, this time at a gas station with a medium-size market and full restaurant. At many such rest stops, there is a 1TL fee to use the facilities; today’s exchange rate makes that about 35 cents in U.S. dollars. Back on the road and we learn we’ll have to reroute on a two-lane road due to construction of a tunnel on the highway that would take us right into Kastamonu; although only a 30-mile addition to our original route, this means a really long drive as you’ll notice if you MapQuest the two cities. We arrived in the city of about 100,000 people after five hours on the road and went straight to lunch. The rooftop seating area didn’t have much of a view due to buildings on three sides and a taller one across the street but the weather cooperated with sunny skies. My meal was excellent–some sort of bread shaped like a fluffy tortilla spread with minced veal then smothered with yogurt.
Following lunch we had a walking tour of town:
Musicians hired to announce a wedding and invite guests to it (all welcome):
Heading out of town, we drive through pine forests and hills of shrubs on the way to Daday, 18 miles to the west.
Our next stop was Kasaba Village, home to Mahmut Bet Mosque. Built in 1366, the mosque is famous for the wooden columns and wooden roof as well as the interior ornamentation style known as kalemisi. The mosque in on UNESCO’s tenative list for addition as a World Heritage Site; more information at on UNESCO’s website: whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/5904/.
Our resting spot for the night was the Iksir Resort, a large facility way out in the hills. It seems an ideal place for those who want to get away from busy lives as there is a large covered pool, small gym, masseuse on staff, ATVs, bicycles, horses, soccer/football field, fishing, and more. A few of us took the opportunity for an evening ride which due to the late hour was in the arena. There were no fast horses amongst our steeds but we all had a good time.