Nick’s journey continues with the second instalment of his blog from Norway. If you would like to read part one, you can find it here.
We decided to stay at Unstad again as its been pumping all day but still super windy and rainy! We had a morning surf north of the beach with faces of about 15ft! The boys managed to get in a few barrels. Even a few double overheads and super chunky! BEAUTIFUL!
We got out after a few hours to have some lunch and then decided to try out the south of the beach ( the break here is named ‘garbage’!) I have never seen wind like it! The guys in the water said they couldn’t see anything on the take off because of spray!
I shot from the boot of the car, and felt like even that was going to roll away with the wind! The highlight was seeing a French girl, Mimi, paddling out on a FLOATY, no hood or gloves! BEAST! There were a couple of South Africans who also rocked up and I’ve never seen surfing like it, definitely pro standard!
We had news that the wind was dying off to 20mph tomorrow which apparently is good?!?!
We headed up the coast to Delp to change it up a bit. The spot is north facing and needs a big west swell to get up there. The boys were lucky and had a westerly swell, 10ft@13seconds with a light southerly wind and we surfed here for around 3 hours. Oh and those Saffers that I mentioned, low and behold were there and not only that, one of them, Steve ‘stezzy’ Sawyer is ranked WSL 49th and SA longboarding Champion whilst the other, Shannon Ainsleigh is a pro-surf instructor/mentor and SHARK ATTACK survivor! The pair of them were absolute gems !
That evening we went and watch Steve play an acoustic set in a local bar which he nailed, obviously! ( not jealous much). I bought his CD for my mum…..!
‘We’re stoked to be working with Lachlan, he’s an incredible talent and here’s just a taste of what is to come’
Anthony Smith, a 17 year old bodyboarder from Mossy point, NSW. He recently got his p’s so you’ll see many more shots of him in come slabs on the coast! He has a great passion with a great future!
Leon Bushnell, 16 year old surfer from coastline of Durras. But he is mainly known for his amazing photography. Go check him out on Instagram,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Lachlan is a 15 year old Photographer and filmmaker from the South Coast of Australia. He lives in a small town named Bodalla and escapes from the countryside most weekends to the beautiful coastlines of the South Coast.
Whilst Lachlan may only be 15 years old, he certainly does manage to get up to some cool stuff, so will be blogging to keep us up to date on his travels, whether that is shooting a surf trip on an ordinary weekend or working on big projects.
Lachlan originally got into photography and filming for a hobby but since his involvement with Great Venture Surf Co has realised that this is the path he would like to take in life. He is now focusing on expanding his work and hopefully one day making a living out of it. Its a tough gig but he is going to give it a go!
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.
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.
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!
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.
We are extremely lucky here at GVSCO to have started working with the legendary explorer and Journeymen that is Jeff Allen. With his very unique skill set and passion for the outdoors Jeff strives to bring the nature and humanity back to its symbiotic relationship where by we can enjoy the beauty of the natural world but also respect it, view it and live with it in an educated and thoughtful manner.
WHO IS JEFF ?
Jeff is the founder of the International Sea Kayak Guide Association (ISKGA), which is a commercial guiding organisation, specialising in training and assessments of commercial sea kayak guides.
Jeff is also the founding director of several successful commercial sea kayaking businesses, specialising in tuition, guiding and expeditions by kayak/canoe, these businesses include Expedition Paddler, Sea Kayaking Cornwall Ltd and Gylly Adventures. In 2008, working with David Whiddon (Sea Survival Trainer RNLI) Jeff developed the first sea survival programme aimed specifically at the sea kayaking industry, this two day course has since been emulated by various organisations around the world in Canada the US and Europe and he is regularly consulted in areas of rescue, survival and incident management. Jeff is the technical advisor to the DGI, Denmark’s leading sea kayaking organisation as well as to various other sea kayaking businesses. He teaches and presents regularly at sea kayak symposia around the world Within the sea kayaking industry, Jeff is considered to be a technical expert in these fields and due to this recognition is also a regular contributor and columnist to the Ocean Paddler magazine.
Jeff draws not only on his proffessional awards in training the service, awards which include the highest levels of proficiency and coaching of the British Canoe Union – but also on his experience, to date Jeff has accumulated more than 20,000 miles of practical expedition sea kayaking experience, including a classic first un-supported circumnavigation of Japan, the first British Circumnavigation of South Georgia, a combination Ski and Kayak circumnavigation of the Scandinavian Peninsular and a world record breaking speed circumnavigation of Ireland as well as many other personal and commercial expeditions to the Mediterranean, North & South America and Europe. He plans the logistics and itineraries for these expeditions which run in a variety of climates where temperatures have ranged from -20 (Winter in Northern Norway) to + 35/40 (Sub tropical Japan & Mexico) Celsius and has an understanding of the requirements for conducting small boat expeditions in a whole variety of environments.
So it is clear to see that the man and legend that is Jeff is a force to be admired and not to be messed with 🙂 . With such a broad skill set and huge vault of experience to draw upon is there anything that he can not do ? We are extremely excited and honoured to bring you these adventures as they unfold so keep your eyes out for Jeffs blogs ….. they are sure to make you rethink and get up and outside.
Please visit his website and get in contact he would love to hear from you:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
Freo. Home to a thriving arts scene, independent retailers, creative thinkers and everyone else in between, all bound together by a humbling sense of community. I think it is fair to say that the 6 months i spent immersed in Freo life were some of the best I have had. As a traveller, Freo is the perfect place to stop and earn some coin for further travels, and the nearby airport in Perth is a spring board into Indonesia and we all know what that means…. Waves Waves Waves.
I have put together a Top 5 list of things to do during your time in Fremantle. These are not your standard “TOP 5”, so you wont find these in your lonely planet books or travel guides, these are a some local sweet spots and hidden gems.
- Monument hill sunset
The old Fremantle docks make for a beautiful setting as the sun sinks into sea lighting up the sky giving you the most spectacular panoramic view of the Indian Ocean. With nothing between you and the east coast of Africa, it’s a must do, believe me.
- Holy smokes – Bourbon Bar
A very cool low key evening spot with good music and some outstanding bar snacks, be sure to try the jerky and the scratchings!. And of course their drinks are sublime, Holy Smokes boasts a massive range of high quality Bourbons so you’ll be sure to find a new favourite.
- Surfing the cove
All the way up the west coast of Australia there are world famous surf breaks. But if you are short of time, then the best surf break in the local area is a spot in Cottesloe called the cove. A right hand reef break, with easy accessibility from the car park, its a low hassle way to get wet and get your fix.
- Coffee – Jack And The Bean
Coffee, not something that is hard to come by in Fremantle and a lot of places do great coffee. However the coffee at Jack and the Bean topped with they exceptional service made it the go to spot. Start your day right and grab a brew from Jackie and the team.
- Sunset markets – south beach
If you are in Freo during the summer you have to get yourself down to the sunset markets, this is the pinnacle of the Fremantle’s community spirit. Friends and families getting together, hanging out with some beers and amazing food, all prepared by local foodies who delectable wholesome grub goes great with the beat of local musicians. Again a must do.
Thanks Fremantle, Stay stoked