When my mum was in her 20’s she was a windsurfing instructor in the south of France so I’ve always thought it’s fairly ridiculous that I’ve never really tried it. With this in mind and once we learnt that Alaçati was one of the best places in the world for windsurfing, we had to give it a go.
Over breakfast, we asked our hosts where the best place to get lessons would be. By ask, I mean Annabel galloped up and down the dining room miming windsurfing and SOMEHOW they understood and produced a phone number.
Before we knew it we’d booked a lesson for that morning, hopped in the car and arrived at Alaçati Surf Paradise.
We donned our wetsuits, collected our kit and marched out into the sea. Where we spent half an hour falling in, and in, and in. After much laughter and several thousand expletives, we eventually managed to stay upright long enough to actually go somewhere.Before long we could turn and spent the next hour going back and forwards across the bay, happy as clams. Once our lesson was over, we sat in the sun and made the most of the view for the afternoon. Chatting with our lovely instructor Apo, (that man must have the patience of a saint to put up with us) we made plans to return for another lesson the next morning.Before wandering into town for an amble and a spot of shoppingIt really is one of those places where every street is prettier and more charming than the last.It wasn’t long before we wandered into the most mesmerising shop full of vintage glassware, definitely somewhere to return to once I have a large country kitchen to fill. As night fell we decided it was time for some sustenance.Opting for Asma Yaprağı as we’d consistently heard nothing but good things.The setting is nothing short of magical, set in a courtyard down a little lane, candles twinkle in the early evening light.
And then of course, there is the food. It goes like this. You sit down and make yourself comfortable with a glass of wine, like soBefore being called into the kitchen to select your dishesThe table groans with choices, each sounding more delicious than the last, making a choice nigh on impossible. The dishes are made every day on the same very table, changing depending on what looks good at the market that morning.From lemony broad bean dip, to stuffed aubergine, to artichokes cooked with orange, we mmmmed and ahhhed through our many mezze but it was the main dish that really stole the showThe most meltingly tender slow roast shoulder of local lamb, which I’m going to go as far as saying, was the best I’ve ever had. Slow roasted simply with handfuls of rosemary and garlic for hours, the quality of the ingredients shone.Especially when enhanced with a sprinkling of chilli and oregano from the little box of treats left on the table.Having declared ourselves far too full for pudding we were then remarkably easily talked into sharing a beetroot brownie with the quintessential cup of Turkish tea. I’d like to say I regret this but I really can’t.I can’t recommend Asma Yaprağı, or indeed Alaçati enough. When we first announced we were off to Turkey we had several people telling us it wasn’t safe, especially as two girls but I can honestly say I haven’t felt safer or more welcome somewhere for ages. The locals are friendly, it’s picture postcard pretty, the food is wonderful and I’d go back in a heartbeat.
I would say the best times of year to visit are late May/early June or September/early October. During the height of the summer the streets get so busy you can barely move and if you fancy a go at windsurfing you’ll be sharing the bay with hundreds of others, rather than just a handful.