A reader writes:
The scene has a “developing country” look and feel. That, and the mountainous terrain, and the flags (Nepal’s flag has the most unique shape in the world, two triangles one below the other) indicate that this is Nepal. I’ll just go with Kathmandu, the capital.
The first thing I thought of when I saw the picture was the Casbah in Tangier, Morocco. I was just there a few months ago on a trip I took while studying in Madrid. The buildings don't look quite the same, but I guess they could be from the newer part of the city. We spent most of our time getting lost in the historic city center, getting accosted by people wanting to be our "guide" for a couple hundred dirhams.
Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas? That looks like Blackbeard's castle on top of the hill, and the in need of repair apartment buildings look like many I saw when I visited there a couple of years ago. Every time I see a colorful hillside on what appears to be an island, I will continue to guess St. Thomas, even if I'm always wrong.
Tbilisi, Georgia? I’ve got Sarajevo and Tel Aviv right, and I only play when I think I’ve been to the location. Some friends and I climbed up to the tower in the picture, and to the right, out of the frame, ought to be a large cross made from tin panels. It’s the land and tower that I think I recognize, the apartments could be anywhere from Tegulcigulpa to Bucharest.
Of all the Eastern Europe capitols I visited, Tbilisi was the most impoverished seeming. Politically, its government displays flags showing membership in the EU and NATO, yet their actual relationship with those organization seems not as strong as the displays would indicate. Booksellers and painters abound on the sidewalks, and my friend bought a book of poetry written in Georgian. Georgian has its own script which is quite attractive, yet illegible to those of use used to the script with which we write English. The poetry turned out to have been written by Stalin, who remains popular with the old folks scratching out a living on the sidewalks selling trinkets, nuts and poetry.
I'm racing to finish up my Master's thesis, so I have no time to hunt on Google Maps or whatever else the savants who win this game week after week do to be so spectacularly accurate with their guesses. However, this looks exactly like Lebanon to me. Part of me wants to say Batroun or somewhere up north, but i'm going with my gut and saying Beirut. If I'm wrong, I'll trade you a copy of my soon-to-be finished thesis for a VFYW book.
Were it not for my girlfriend's unabashed love for her parents' native country, Brazil, I would have nothing to submit here. But with the elementary lessons in Brazilian culture and geography I've received from her, I can say with about 40 percent certainty that this is Rio. Or possibly Sao Paulo. I think. It is customary to hang laundry to dry in Brazil, so that was one hint. The steep, green hills that tower over the crusty old buildings resemble the outskirts of Rio, perhaps even the favelas. But I can't identify that beige structure in the back … grrr.
Well, once again I see you're chosen a devilishly difficult view this week.
I'm wondering what kind of deal you made with Google to have them scrub all images of the church and tower on the hill. And you, no doubt, selected a community that does not have street view available, which really didn't matter since I couldn't find the church, or tower, or iglesia, or torre, or fort or …
The pink blouse, or is it long johns, hanging from the clothesline was perhaps a clue of where not to look rather than where to look. The orange satellite dishes excited me though,and seemed to be a solid clue. I believed they were from the company Televes. If so, according to their website, that narrowed my search to Spain, Italy, France, the UK, Poland, Portugal, Germany, and Russia. From that small bit of geography, I'm tempted to say the shot was taken somewhere in Spain.
However, there has been a sighting of an orange dish in the previous view from Dasmascus and for that reason alone, since I have nothing better, I'm guessing the Middle East somewhere. Slightly more specifically, somewhere along your route as you slouch toward Bethlehem:
This one proved difficult, as usual, until I saw a sign on one of the apartments, saying "Vende" – "For sale" in Spanish. That obviously limited my option to Spanish-speaking countries, but that could have been anywhere. However, the other interesting clue was the orange satellite dish. After many many attempts on Google, I found a Spanish company, called Televes, which has exactly those dishes (a picture can be found in this link).
So, looking at the location of this company I found they are in Santiago de Compostela, La Coruña España, so that is my guess. Though I tried to find the amazing church/fortress up the hill in images from that area, I couldn't find any that looked just like it. But I'm definitely sure another reader will …
Spain. This has to be Spain. My wife and I just took a train from Seville to Granada and those apartment buildings in the lower right-hand corner of the photo with the light orange/tan exteriors and white and red trim are a dead give-away regarding these parts. Unfortunately, I also saw that paint scheme outside of Barcelona, so I can't give a definite city with much confidence. But I'm going with Granada because of the desert like hills in the background.
'Tis Spain. Specifically:
Cullera, Spain. The landscape is unmistakably Mediterranean. And the "VENDE" sign is the Spanish equivalent for "FOR SALE," so it's most likely Spain. Since I'm not very familiar with Spain, I used the "terrain" view in Google Maps to look around Valencia since it faces the Mediterranean due east. The coastline is mostly flat in the area except for in one spot as you work your way south, in Cullera. The site of the town and the hill overlooking it looked like a match. Turning on the "photos" feature confirmed it.
With the help of Street View, I was able to get the general area of where the picture was taken. The attached screen cap of the Street View shows the apartment building with green accents in the VFYW photo, with the yellow building beyond:
If I had to guess, I would say it's taken from the building directly above the word "castellana" (lighter-colored roof). I'm being as specific as possible because I've barely lost a couple of these before by being less-specific!
Three other readers correctly guessed Cullera. One writes:
Thanks for so many clues! It's embarrassing that I've never been able to map a US picture, but it may be more fun to armchair travel to other places. Lots of googling to narrow it down to the alley parallel to Calle Miguel Hernandez, just east. The cross street is Calle Caminas del Homens. I think the building that the picture was taken from was still being built when Google maps went through, so I'm sending a picture of the construction site and the building to be put there. You can see the hole where the building is being built and across the street the the green and pink building as well as the yellow one:
My guess is that the picture was taken from a window looking to the inside yard at the eight or ninth floor of either number 13 or number 15, at Calle Caminàs dels Homens, in Cullera, Valencia, Spain. The window looks north but the picture was taken towards the west, upwards to the Santuario de la Virgen del Castillo, a church built beside a XIIIth Century Castle.
I do not have any particular story about Cullera, where I have never been, so I will only tell you about my search, which was quite easy because the buildings in the picture have a very strong Spanish feeling to them. Combined with the vegetation in the hill, this was cryng out "Spanish Mediterranean". So it took me only a couple of minutes to type (in Spanish) "church fortress Spanish Mediterranean" in Google Images, and there it was, fifth result: the Virgen del Castillo Sanctuary in Cullera, Valencia.
It was much more difficult to find the exact place where it was taken from. The tower below the church gave a good reference point to calculate the area, to the SE from the church, with a similar view of the hill. But I was fooled by the balcony with a sign of "Se vende", which made me think that those balconies belonged to a façade over a street. They had to be on the west side of a north-south street, lookin to the east. I could not find anything like that in Google Street View, until after a long while I finally discovered the building, looking the wrong way, to the West. Then a little "walk" to the East allowed me to see that interior façade (towards the yard) looked like the one to the street. So this must be it.
When I saw "Pensión Castellana" in number 13 I imagined some young American with a tight budget spending some days there, but I think the Pensión only occupies the first and second floor of the building, so it must not be there.
Anyway, I hope I am right.
I think I was lucky to find the castle/church on a quick Google search (that it might be Spain was a guess). The exact window, however, is a lot more difficult … I make this as somewhere on the Avenida Veinticinco de Abril, around about no. 101. The water tank or whatnot partway down the slope lines up with our window, wherever it is, so I've drawn a line through that; it strikes a series of buildings on the Avenida. The viewpoint also seems to take in the buildings on the right, and those buildings in the foreground, which gives me some pause about my exact placement. I'm sure with better satellite pictures I could get closer, but I think I'm pretty close.
This is the third one I think I've cracked, though unlike the two previous (Paris, Barcelona), I don't have an exact window. I'm also beginning to worry that I can only get Western European answers. I should get those, studying European History in the UK, but the many from other parts of the world that I can't get close to has made clear to me how little I know about the rest of the world. The Dish, providing yet another form of perspective!
Of those four correct guessers, two have correctly guessed a difficult window view in the past without winning (the other two will now be added to that short-list). However, we have yet to hear back from the reader who submitted the photo, so we don't have a precise location in Cullera with which to determine the winner this week. As soon as we hear back, we will send him or her the prize.
See everyone else on Saturday for the next contest!
Update from the submitter of the photo:
The address is 15 Avenida Caminas del Homens, out my kitchen window on the tenth floor (one of the first things I see). The second-to-last emailer you posted had it closest, though the dude who guessed that it was Bethlehem, but taken at the Sphinx, made me snort my coffee. Dish readers really are an amazing lot.
One such reader wrote after the results were posted:
I just thought I'd point out that aside from the VENDE sign and the presence of the orange satellite dishes, there is another revealing clue (or should I say clues) in this picture. That would be the angle of the satellite dishes. Since TV satellites are necessarily in geosynchronous orbits, and these orbits are also equatorial, satellite dishes always have to point toward to equator. From this you can easily deduce that this picture was taken facing WNW. Since the slopes of the distant mountain are vegetated and cut by an ancient stream (or creek), it would not be hard to deduce that said stream or creek would be flowing east toward the sea (which would be the case in Mediterranean Spain). Taken together these clues could rapidly narrow down a search for the exact location and orientation of the window, in addition to the time of day the photo was taken.