Yellow: Hoi An
Sunrise hours hold a special place in the Vietnamese town of Hoi An. The rays of the early sun bring about the fairytale-like quality and the almost unreal hues of gold splashed all over the town. The historic town slowly awakes to the bright yellow light, the interplay of the sun and radiant yellow façades of the Old Town.
While theories are many, no one knows for sure why the houses of Hoi An are painted yellow. The yellow colour is honoured by the Vietnamese as a symbol of prosperity, luck and respect, and as such, it may have be chosen to give this charming town a special flair. Multiculturalism can be spotted at Hoi An at its best, with Japanese temples scattered among shabby houses made of wood, inhabited by Chinese traders, and decadent buildings designed in the French colonial style.
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Ancient Town has preserved its atmospheric character. Everyday life there revolves around the Thu Bon River, with the back of the buildings facing the river to simplify transport and loading of goods, and the famous central market, rich with fresh local produce and Vietnamese street life buzz.
Numerous alleyways, canals and bridges, as well as historic sites, have been kept intact to the day.
Nothing much changes in Hoi An. Only streams of tourists who come to explore the place where time stands still.
Perched on a hill in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, the small village of Roussillon is nothing like typical Provençal villages. Its streets soaked in ochre and the countryside abundant with the rich colour, Roussillon is a quaint russet-red village, listed as one of the most beautiful ones in France.
With no particular touristy or historic sites to boast, Roussillon is still breathtaking and draws visitors year-round, especially nature enthusiasts and art buffs.
The cliffs around the village invite for a hike along the famous Ochre Trail where you will be mesmerized by the outburst of red hues and diverse flora typical of the region. The ochre sand is coloured by the iron oxide from the dirt and nuances vary from pale yellow all the way to dark violet.
Snapped out of a picture book, the blue village in Morocco is a quiet retreat, placed against a backdrop of barren land. Blue-washed walls of houses line along alleyways and narrow staircases stand in contrast to the brightly coloured red roofs in “medina”, built under Andalucian influence. Once again, one cannot be quite sure as to why the Jewish refugees coming from Europe in the 1930s opted for the colour blue. Most probably, the colour choice has a religious background with blue threads woven into shawls for prayer that would remind people of God’s everlasting power.
Modern Chefchaouen is a unique blend of the Berber, Hebrew, Muslim and Moorish descendants. Don’t expect urban but rather go for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, marked by amazing street scenes, mouthwatering cuisine and traditional bazaars where you can practice your haggling skills.
While Auto Europe is currently not operating in Vietnam, we offer car hire in many countries across Asia including Thailand. Hoi An would make a great weekend trip from there. To visit Roussillon, we recommend car hire from Marseille. Chefchaouen is best to visit with car hire from Rabat or Fez.