by Chris Bodenner
Between the low traffic of the Christmas weekend and the difficulty of the above view, the flow of entries this week was pretty weak. A reader writes:
A tricky one. The trees and colorful buildings suggested northern Europe, possibly Scandinavia. On the off chance that the tall white structure in the background is the Olympic Tower, my guess is Helsinki, Finland. But judging from Google Maps, the terrain around the Olympic Stadium is a bit different from what appears in the photo – the position of the tower in relation to the hill in particular – so I'm not very confident.
This looks an awful lot like Bergen, Norway, a place I visited a couple of times two years ago while working on a cruise ship. The wooded hills in the background, the 19th century European buildings, and the telecommunications tower seem to match my memory very well.
The snowfall and something about the architecture drew me to Switzerland. Bern seemed too historic to have the contemporary buildings in this scene, so I headed over to Zurich. I'm guessing this was taken from one of the western cities on Lake Zurich, looking west.
I'm going to go with Austria. Why Austria? 1) The yellow apartment buildings – with pink trim on that one set of balconies. 2) The cars – both Renault and VW. 3) The modernist style mixed in with the drab post-war grey. 4) The green in front – such a typical plant for Austria.
Where in Austria? I'm going to make two guesses. My first vote is Bischofshofen. The second vote is for a town on the Westbahn, outside of Vienna, in the Wienerwald. That would be either Purkersdorf or Pressbaum. Why? I'm just guessing. No way I'm going to win, but it's fun to guess …
Salzburg, Austria? Probably not correct, as my guessing usually doesn't work. It's been a quarter-century since I spent Christmas in Salzburg, but the feeling is right. Thank you for making those memories return.
Bratislava, Slovakia? The gray winter; the small cars; the shortish, round mountain in the background; the 6-storey, old-school apartment buildings in the foreground with a blocky Soviet style building in the middle; and could that be the top of the Michalska Brana spire obscured by the tree on the left?
I'm at a loss. My first thought was northern Europe. I was going to say something in Scandinavia but stopped myself; wouldn't the snow fall be heavier? So I'll go farther south. ummmmmmmm, Warsaw, Poland?
Freiburg, Germany? A wild guess. The look is glum-in-winter-Northern European. Flirted with the Czech Republic (Karlsbad) because of the pastel-colored buildings, but the style isn't quite right and red roofs are the norm. Germany has black roofs. The hillside forest is deciduous, sprinkled with evergreens, which means it's not at an alpine elevation. Also perused Canada briefly but couldn't find the same kind of building density. Luxembourg City in Luxembourg was a candidate, but it's nestled in a steeper valley than this one. Because it's in the Black Forest and colorful buildings abound, Freiburg is my choice. (Seigen and Heilbronn were runners-up.) But with my luck, after being Europe-centric for hours, the correct locale will turn out to be an old mill town in Maine.
The precise location of the view is Differdange, Luxembourg, taken on December 23 at 12:23 p.m. The following entry was the closest in geographical distance and thus the winner of this week's prize:
Idar-Oberstein, Germany? Just a random guess.
Never hurts to guess!