GVSCo website launch. We’re Live!

It has been a long road since 2014 and the humble beginnings of our social media campaigns. Over the two years we have developed and built an amazing following and that is down to you guys, believing, sharing and supporting us. We cannot thank you enough; all the time and work our end would have been for nothing if it wasn’t for all your constant support.

All of this love and work has brought us to this point the WEBSITE LAUNCH! We are so stoked to say that the website is now complete and live:

http://www.greatventuresurfco.com

Please get online and check it out, and let us know what you think. Additionally please spread the word as much as you can.

GVS Co. was set up with one mission in mind – to create a place where the surfing community can access the best independent and emerging brands throughout the surfing world. Our aim was to champion the little guy, promote the true craftsmen and to keep you up to date with the next big thing and we certainly believe we’ve achieved this.

We are working with people that we like and respect and it is very important to us that everyone we take on this journey, shares our passion for ethical manufacturing and are having a positive impact on the world.

We are constantly growing and evolving, bringing new brands and products on board so take a look around, sign up to the mailing list and keep in touch, and make sure you come along for the ride!

Much love, stay stoked,

GVSCo.

The Beautiful Town of Ericeira, Portugal

2016 has been a very exciting year for us and we’ve been to some incredible places, but very few can surpass the beautiful Portuguese coast line and the wonderful fishing town of Ericeira.

The town of Ericeira is famous for its surf and incredible beaches, but there is so much to enjoy here on top of the swell; beautiful seafood restaurants, enticing independent bars and an exploding culture are begging to be enjoyed.

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We stayed for four days in a brilliant apartment high above the old town boasting a balcony view with sight lines from Foz do Lisandro  in the south right across to the beach at Matadouro to the north.

Having arrived late on the Monday we spent the first full day getting our bearings and investigating the local surroundings. A short walk down the hill from our apartment towards the coast led us straight on to the boulevard, which stretches from the edge of the old town to the beach at Matadouro, home to some of Ericeira’s best surf. On the boulevard is a charming café where we sat for a late breakfast and coffee. Right on the path, Esplanada Sebastiao Café is the perfect place for a bite to eat and a coffee whilst enjoying the sea breeze and the often glorious sunshine.

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From here we walked along the coast to the already highly credited Matadouro beach front, here we stood and watched the busy waters of the late morning and planned the surfing lessons we went to Portugal to take. Down on the seafront we met Sami, surfer and owner of Activity Surf Centre, but more about them to come.

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This beautiful spot is an absolute must for all holiday makers, surfers and explorers trekking along the coast. There is access to Matadouro beach, where at low tide you can walk out across the rocks and shallows for 100’s of meters. Overlooking the gold sandy beach is a wonderful seating area which is provided by a perfectly placed American style pop up eatery serving a range of classic food and drink. This is one of my fondest memories of Ericeira, sitting with my feet up enjoying a beer and basking in the glorious heat of the late afternoon.

For the remainder of the day we walked leisurely back into Town to get our first taste of classic Portugal. We drifted in between cobbled streets dressed with white and blue buildings until we arrived at the town centre. From here we ducked down a side street and came across Cassa Portuguesa an authentic restaurant on the corner of Esperanca and Outubro. We sat on the street in the sunshine and both enjoyed freshly caught Octopus; not our usually plate of choice but honestly it was incredible, the rumours of the sensational seafood in Ericeira were true. Finishing our meal and topping off our water we received the bill.  One of the great surprises of Portugal and Ericeira was that it is dramatically cheaper than the rest of Europe, in fact you could certainly enjoy yourselves on a budget, enjoying Portugal with out breaking the bank.

For the week that we were staying in Ericeira the Portuguese Surf Film Festival was on, showing two films each evening on a variety of surf culture issues. This was too good of an opportunity to miss so we purchased tickets for every night we were there.  The films typically ran from 9pm until 11pm, which meant that after a few drinks beforehand we were usually ready to head home and get some rest before the morning surfs lessons.

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The following days passed by in a brilliant routine of surfing in the morning and enjoying lunch at Matadouro; then heading back home to change before walking down into the old town to eat at one of the many seafood restaurant, then watching a few surf films in the evening. We rarely had reservations, but this was not an issue if you are ok with eating between 7pm and 8:30pm as the Portuguese like most Europeans tend to eat dinner a lot later than us British.

The second evening we ate at a place called Restaurante Tik-Tak, decorated with nautical themed antiques with a wonderful collection of wine on display throughout the walkways.   Located directly opposite Cassa Portuguesa where we ate lunch the day before. This choice was not made because of its location, in fact it came highly recommended and with great reviews. We got to the restaurant just before 7, found all the tables were reserved and they were completely full for the evening. However one of the staff noticed us reading the menu and kindly highlighted that there was a table for two reserved at 8, but if we were happy to finish our meal within the hour she could seat straight away. Another example of the kind and friendly nature of the people in Ericeira.

The meal itself was divine. Nicole had the catch of the day and I had Monkfish Rice with Prawns. Although we only had an hour the staff weren’t pushy and the service was expertly delivered with recommendations for drinks and bars for after. We left the table at 7:55pm completely satisfied and raving about another brilliant meal.

On our third evening we decided to treat ourselves and we ate at a beautiful seafront restaurant called Esplanada Furnas. This restaurant is idyllically placed, right on rocks with a view of horizon supplied by the restaurant glass fronting. A wonderful piece to Esplanada Furnas’s romantic charm is the option to choose your fish from the counter upon entry, where the staff then grill it there and then. We had an entrée of barnacles and prawns; a messy affair but definitely worth it, the barnacles were superb. Our main was the Flounder we had picked at the start, grilled to perfection and professionally served. Perhaps not the choice of fish if you’re looking for a fish with a lot of meat on the bones, but a wonderfully light and flavourful fish. We stayed for a while after we finished our mains and watched the sun go down; this was possibly one of the most beautiful views and moments we have had on a holiday and if you do make it to Ericeira you must head down to coast on a clear evening.

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On our final evening we ate at Restaurant Prim and much like our evening at Restaurant Tik-Tak this place was all reserved and we hadn’t made a reservation. Classic! But true to form the wonderful restaurateurs of Ericeira found us a table. We sat down at 7pm and had to be at the Town Hall for 8 for our final evening at the surf film festival. Once again the staff were expert and helped us with our orders and drink choices, which came in plenty of time for us to enjoy at a slightly increased pace, but still one of pleasant company. Nicole and I both had the steak, a change in diet and menu after days of fish and other seafood. Perhaps it was the overdosing on fish that made the steak all the better, but it was so good.

So ladies and gents that concludes our whistle stop tour of Ericeira, the restaurants and the beautiful spots we found. In short you have to visit for the surf, the food and most importantly the place.

GVSCO x

Our Long Weekend in Rome – Day 3 by Alec Warriner

Day three began with a lazy lay in and an expresso from the authentic Italian café around the corner from our apartment. We then walked back up over the top of the Roman Forum, down onto the Piazza Venezia and down a street named Via del Corso. On this street discovered a brilliant shop called Gutteridge; now for all you gents out there I highly recommend that you visit this store, it is a taste of true Italian style and will leave you feeling very dapper indeed. So our third day became a day of shopping and enjoying an unplanned stroll around the streets of Rome.

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After a day of filling our bags with shopping and emptying our wallets, we decided that as it was our final evening in Rome that we should of course dine in style. Now I had planned to go to one a Rome’s most recommended restaurants, but as promised this isn’t a blog on Rome that the guide books would mirror. So in my ever romantic style I forgot to make a reservation and we ended up eating in the restaurant on the other side of the road called Barzilia. Now trip adviser gives this restaurant a 4 out of 5, but I would without question give it a 5 stars. The food was spectacular as you might expect for a small doing it themselves eatery. We both had pasta and the portions were huge, making the two bottles of red wine and prosecco a little harder to manage, but we got there in the end. The staff were brilliant, enjoyable and fun to speak with, their recommendations were spot on and to top it all off they gave us limoncello shots for free at the end of the meal!

But it doesn’t stop there folks. The waitress pointed us the direction of her cousin’s bar at the top of the road called Black Market on Via Panisperna, luckily for us it was literally a left turn and walk up the road. This cocktail bar with live Jazz is the cool, trendy and underground scene of Rome we had heard so much about and were thrilled to have found. We sat at the ridiculous high bar and order two drinks, a live jazz band played the final riffs of a song and their set, it was now 12:30am. The whole bar is covered with art of all forms and you can’t help but spend your time starring deeply at the pieces as the bar itself is very dimly lit, because it’s insanely trendy guys ha! But one particular piece caught our eye, a photograph of a naked lady laying on front on a bed. This piece happened to be for sale at a cost of €180, now it may have been the drink thinking this and it certainly was at the point of purchase, but we thought we have to have it. So it now sits proudly on our wall in London. A definite memento of our time in Rome.

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However in true Brits abroad style our night did not end there, we then followed another recommendation to a little known bar called APT in Monti, and in case you were wondering yes we had our new purchase with us. Now little can be told about the rest of the evening, but what I can tell you is that we stayed there with the owner of the bar and bar staff until 3:30am. APT is a proud member of the exclusive club, The Best Bars in Europe. This wasn’t down to our rather late evening there, but the bar had been given the accolade only the night before. So we were pretty chuffed to close our incredible weekend in Rome with a night full of amazing surprises and a little bit of drinking!

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So in conclusion guys, our recommendations are stay as central as possible as Rome is easily accessible by foot and tour buses. Get lost in the historic streets, enjoy the food and drink. Of course visit all the famous sites and make the most of your time around them. But if I was going to give a most important tip, that would be to try and make friends, be open to off the map recommendations as this is how we found our most memorable / not so memorable times. Rome is truly one of the best cities we’ve had the pleasure of visiting.

Our Long Weekend in Rome; Day 2 by Alec Warriner

On our second day in Rome we took upon ourselves to jump on a tour bus. There are now many choices for tours and from what we could gather they all covered pretty much the same stops, but what you don’t want is to get scalped for over priced tickets from an unsavory character in the street. So our tip is to head to Roma Termini, which is the main train / bus station in Rome as a lot of the tours start here and you can buy legitimate tickets from the tours themselves.

The tour we chose went as far out as the Vatican City which was our main goal for the day and as most do provided the luxury of being able to jump on and off at landmarks. The one thing I will say on this is be sure to plan when you want to get off and on as the stops do get very crowded and you could be waiting for several buses to come before you are allowed on.

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The first half of the tour took us around ancient Rome and having experienced most of this on foot the day before we stuck to our original plan stayed on until the Vatican City stop. This was of course perfectly enjoyable,as although it was mid Feb and slightly nippy the weather was clear blue skies and we could sit on the top deck and listen to audio talk us through the histories of Rome.

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Once we arrived at the Vatican City we hopped off and walked across St. Angelo Bridge. Built in 134 A.D the bridge gives access to Castel San’Angelo, a vast circular 2nd Century castle now used to house a collection of Renaissance furniture and paintings. But equally as interesting, Castel San’Angelo was the hiding place of Pope Clement VII during the sack of Rome.

We walked with the crowds up to St. Peters square and not for the first time nor the last we were stunned by the architectural beauty of the buildings. We stood in the square and avoided the many people trying to persuade us to part with our cash and follow them to someone selling tickets to the Sistine Chapel. Another tip here guys is to try and be as early as possible if you want to visit the Sistine Chapel and purchase your tickets at licence vendors; there plenty many in the square. We chose not to go into the Chapel as the line which was HUGE, because we did not get there early ha.

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After walking back across St Angelo Bridge we caught the open topped bus for the second half of our tour of Rome and settled back into the romantic audio of our tour guide and historic Rome. Our next stop was the Spanish steps and by this time the afternoon was coming to end and a beautiful purple sunset was on its way.

Unfortunately the majority of the steps were closed to the public due to much need TCL, but we were able to walk down the right hand side of them. Even then the marble was spectacular looking and smooth enough to slide down, not advisable. As expected the Spanish Steps and the area around the baroque ship fountain at the foot of the steps was packed with tourists taking photos, which makes getting any personal photos quite difficult, but when in Rome you need to give it a go!

If you can be at the steps for the end of the day it is 100% worth it as the sun strikes the Trinita dei Monti, which is the 16th century church at the top of the steps and creates another amazing photo opportunity. Our photo of this was taken from the balcony of a wonderful little restaurant called Mariotti, which is directly to the right of the steps if you’re standing at the top.  We perched there for an hour or so drinking prosecco and red wine whilst the sun went down on our 2nd day.

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We ended our day with a wonderful evening walk through the streets to Trevi Fountain, which is a short walk from the steps and only took us 15/20mins after a few large glasses of wine. This for me was the most impressive moment of our trip, the fountain after dark is illuminated by underwater lighting creating a magical environment and stunning view of the statues grandeur. Once again the crowds are slightly too many, but be patient and get the all-important selfie with the fountain and throw a coin over your shoulder into the water, making a wish!

To be continued…