From all shades of blue to rainbow-like color schemes or fiery skies, one of the things I love most about travelling is discovering colorful places. It inspires me deeply and offers great insight into local culture and traditions. Often I feel as though color lets a place come to life and it’s that feeling of vibrancy I carry with me long after. To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, I collated photographs from my recent adventures through Canada, into Europe, throughout Northern Africa, over China, and right down to the tip of Aotearoa [New Zealand].
Canada’s colours particularly come to life in autumn, when the leaves turn. While Cape Breton Island on the far East Coast is best known for its multiple hues of orange (besides the vast national parks and Sottish heritage, of course), Canada’s West Coast often surprises with an early dusting of snow, making the blue lakes stand out even more. When in Banff, head up Village Road for one of the best vantage points for sunrise in the area.
I’d been solo travelling for a few months already when it was time to meet up with my love. The only right thing to do was to kick things off in Paris. On our second morning, I decided to set the alarm to some stupidly early hour to catch the sunrise over the Eiffel tower. He wasn’t too pleased when I woke him before dawn, but seeing the sky turn pink with no other soul around us was extra special. Heading west from Paris, we passed Giverny (Monet’s home) and arrived at Mont Saint-Michel, an island commune in Normandy. A week or so later, towards the end of our journey across France, a stop in the Germany-bordering town of Colmar was an unexpected highlight. Yet another early rise allowed us to take in the colourful architecture before day visitors blurred the vision.
Flying from Portugal to Austria was the plan. What actually happened was that flights to Denmark were a lot more reasonably priced. With no real plans I was soon headed for Copenhagen; luckily for me, the city is wonderfully set up for visitors. I opted for one of the free city walking tours, met some long-lost friends, and ate far too much Danish bread. A perfect stopover in my books.
If I had to nominate one European country which does colour best, it would be Italy. There is something enticing about the contrast of ancient cobble stones, fading buildings, and Italian landscape. To really understand the scenic and cultural diversity of this nation, head across the Austrian border and slowly trace your way down right to the Southern provinces.
I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Portugal. Learning about fado in Lisbon, passing the tiled houses of Porto, walking along misty trails in the far North, and going off the beaten track on Madeira Island let me understand there is much more to Portugal than its famed Algarve coast. It was exactly there, however, at one of the cliffs on the Costa De Algarve, that I experienced a sunset that made its way into my heart.
Little did I know that the Alhambra — Granada’s grand love letter to Moorish culture – was the 2nd most visited site in Europe after the Eiffel Tower. Can you see why?
The legend goes something like this: A well-off family denied support to an underprivileged woman and her son, which left God deeply upset. So he buried them under the dune fields of Erg Chebbi. This majestic rose-gold wealth of sand is now better known as one of Morocco’s two dream desert destinations. And then there was Chefchauoen, a blue painted village set beneath one of the country’s lushest national parks.
To me, the Great Wall of China is what Machu Picchu is to Peru — a destination of incredible cultural and historical importance, inundated with tourist traffic, yet beautiful. This unforgettable experience should undoubtedly include a hike along unrestored sections of this historical masterpiece. An ideal day trip from Beijing means an early start to watch the sun rise over Jiankou and spend the rest of the morning wandering towards Mutianyu.
The New Zealand landscape is blessed with epic spots around every corner. On your journey, be sure to put your camera down for a moment and meet some locals, too. Their smiles are honest and their hearts are warm. Whether you are into the outdoors, the arts, cuisine or all of the above (that’s me), New Zealand will not disappoint and is definitely worth the long journey. Haere mai!