A reader writes:
Are you kidding me? Can we at least have ONE contest where those of us that are not well-traveled have SOME hope of getting it right? Give me Wrigley Field, where the person has to guess what seat it was captured from. Geez Louise …
Anyway, my guess is some semi-historic location with snow, chimneys, windows, hills, trees, antennae and a satellite dish with a building under construction in the background. Am I close?
Heh. Another writes:
My first attempt at one of these. The row houses are similar to those in Toronto, and after a quick search to verify that Casa Loma is undergoing restoration (hence the scaffolding), I made Toronto my guess.
I am going to make an educated guess and say the location is in Tskhinvali, South Ossetia, Georgia. The cold/snow, vegetation, terrain and shelled building are a dead giveaway that this place is in the Caucasus (a place where many of the current cold-climate conflicts are going on right now, or in recent years). A reasonable guess might also be Kurta, S. Ossetia, but every building in Kurta was destroyed in the 2008 conflict (a war crime, I'm sure). That is not evident here. Another guess might be Dagestan, but I don't want that to be my official guess, so I'm sticking with Tskhinvali.
The whole picture gives an eastern Europe feel to me. The car looks European as well – a BMW? The bottle of wine will make me guess somewhere more southern – perhaps the former Yugoslavia? I know it snows pretty heavily in Banja Luka, so I suppose that guess is better than any other I could make.
The one fat obvious clue makes this one easy.
Wine bottles of that particular olive shade are the product of Baltic Sea sand and, since the late 15th century, are mostly manufactured on the peninsula west of Riga. Ah, but that's a misdirection, because while they're made in Latvia, they're almost all exported through Stockholm, even today, due to lingering effects of the short-lived trade embargo of 1962 (look it up).
As everyone knows, however, Swedish wine sucks, so we're looking for a secondary market, and that means Hungary. Now for the second clue: Who leaves a full bottle of wine on a window sill? Answer: Forgetful old people like my parents, and young folks, who are careless about alcohol. Well, my parents still can't attach a digital photo to an email and would forget to send it anyway, so it must be a student, probably male, probably unshaven, probably with a sink full of dishes just outside the frame.
But that doesn't narrow it down much, so here's where I get strategic. I bet most of the entries are going to say Budapest, home of Moholy-Nagy University, or maybe Gyor, where they sell cheap Tokajis from vending machines in the student center. So I'm going to hedge and go with the leading destination for Magyar exchange students and say Bratislava, Slovakia.
My first ever VFYW entry, and I'm pretty sure I nailed it. Can't wait to read the crazy guesses of my competitors!
I believe this photo was taken in Valkenburg, Netherlands, during the annual Christmas Market, which is said to be the oldest and largest in Europe. The Market is held in a series of underground passages and caves which were created when the original rock was mined for Valkenburg Castle, built in 1115. The passages and caves were used as a hiding place for Jews and others who were hiding from the Nazis during the German Occupation of WWII. All the proceeds from the Christmas Market are used for the restoration of Valkenburg Castle, which is ongoing and indicated by the scaffolding around the castle.
Sorry, I can't point to the window from which the view is taken, but I think the story of the Valkenburg Resistance is a very interesting one. Amazing to me is the fact that after the war members of the Valkenburg Resistance opted to keep their activities secret so as not to brag. Fortunately, at some point, the personal archive of Pierre Schunck, one of the resistance leaders, became public and the Valkenburg Resistance now occupies its rightful place in history.
Photo of the Christmas market by Chris Friese. Another:
After googling "castle restoration" a bit, I decided that the profile of Ludlow Castle sort of matched the one in the photo, and – better yet – the streets of Ludlow Village are adorned with pastel-coloured houses. Alas, after zooming around in Google Street View for a half-hour, I couldn't quite find a match-up. Most of the pastel houses near the castle are three-storey, not two, and the more I compare the profiles of the two castles the less they seem to match.
A nice way to spend a snowy afternoon here in northern Michigan is looking at photos of snowy castles in England. Why England? The houses, maybe. But I’ve just spent an hour looking at tourist sites and Google Street View, to no avail. So I’m going to a hazard a guess of Lancaster, England.
Looks to me like a place that doesn’t get snow regularly, by the planters and the fact that there’s still snow on the window pane bottom – probably a rarity. Also, lots of deciduous trees and not many evergreens. The car looks like an Audi. I’m going to say Belfast, Northern Ireland because of the pastels.
According to my future son-in-law, that is probably an Audi A6 Avant. He also said that knowing that information is probably useless, as that car is available pretty much world wide. However, his observation that the car is on the left side of the road could be very useful. So I narrowed my search for castles to the UK and Ireland. That does appear to be a castle's Bailey with perhaps a Keep on the inside, and some scaffolding that seems to be typical for other castle renovations such as Clun Castle in Shropshire. But after a look at images of all the castles in the UK I could find, I hit a stone wall. And here I'll stay and simply guess that the view is of a castle in England.
If, on the other hand, the car is parked illegally, and I have been searching in the wrong countries, I will consider it my Dishly duty to report the scofflaw to the relevant authorities once the location has been revealed.
Not England or Ireland, but close. Another:
My guess is Oystermouth Castle, in Mumbles, Wales, possibly from Café Valence Bar And Rooms on Newton Street. If I even get the country correct, I will be satisfied. I had no idea there were so many castles in the UK. Now I know.
Six other readers correctly guessed Oystermouth. One writes:
It has to be the UK – the terraced houses and the Sky TV dish give that away. Plus it did snow heavily there in December. Those are clearly allotment sheds in the background up against the castle wall. Can't be many places where that happens. A quick Google search reveals that Oystermouth Castle has allotments up against the walls and is in pretty much the style and state of ruination shown. A picture is attached.
Seems to match the roof line shown in the photograph. I think yourpicture is looking towards the castle from a window in the terrace behind the one shown towards the bottom right of that aerial view. To cap if off, the BBC has pictures here, including one showing the castle under scaffolding, as shown in your picture, in January.
I can't believe I actually found this place. The architecture seemed very Irish to me (I grew up in Ireland). The buildings looked very inner city Dublin but the ruins where throwing me off. There is nothing on a hill like that in Dublin that I am aware of. The December weather was a helpful clue.
I expanded my search for city center ruins on Google and by chance came across Oystermouth Castle. I went to street level and found some streets that looked similar to the VFYW contest photo. The house colors and the satellite dish were the giveaway. All that was left was to find the right window from the correct house on the opposite side of the street. It's a building on Newton road. I'm pretty certain I got the right window.
Ruined castle, terraced houses: it had to be Wales, right? I was ready to search through the entire list of Welsh castles but luckily the allotments at the left of the picture were a giveaway; it was the eighth Google result for "allotments castle wales". In Google Street View the row of houses in the foreground is Castle Street. Turning round we see the backs of the row of houses on Newton Road, and it's clearly one of the windows I've indicated on the screenshot, due to the position of the Sky dish and the fact that the window is in line with the staircase between the houses. Moving round the front, it's fairly straightforward to identify the room as being above the Jones clothes shop on Newton Road.
I'm not expecting to win, because I've only got the Green Line window correct before, and neither do I have a good anecdote about the time I visited Swansea. However, as an expat Welshman I'm just happy to see views of my country popping up from time to time.
I'm so excited I finally tracked down a window! I knew this was Wales immediately, but had no idea beyond that. The extensions on the backs of the terraced houses are clearly bathrooms added in the 1960s and 1970s when indoor plumbing enjoyed a government subsidy. I spent some time searching on 2 bedroom terraced houses with castle views, but no joy. My partner tried to find a ruined castle undergoing renovations, but there are hundreds of those around Wales.
My partner gave the most important clue when he noted the garden allotments with all their sheds under the wall of the castle. I was reading your blog again this evening and showed the contest to my sons. Searching on "castle ruin allotments" to show them how it was done led me to this image of Oystermouth Castle and allotments in Mumbles, Swansea. Google maps led me to Castle Street. Streetview confirmed the terraced houses opposite as being the same as in the contest picture. When I turned the view around from the cottages, I could see telephone lines from the pole, and then the exact window, with the satellite dish and antenna on the roofs in front. Whoo hoo!
I then went around to the front of the building, navigating by the red building two roofs over, to find the number of the house. The shop and door didn't have a number in Streetview, but a search for the Jones shop name led to 61 Newton Road, Mumbles, Swansea, West Glamorgan, Wales, SA3 4BL.
Attached are the screenshots I took of the front of the building, the back with the window (labelled "This is the window facing Oystermouth Castle! VFYW 16/04/11") and the three terraced houses opposite.
Thanks for the fun!
The winner of this week's contest has been the most difficult to determine yet, since neither of the three most precise guessers have correctly guessed a challenging view in the past, thus providing a tie-breaker. We have yet to hear back from the reader who submitted the photo to find out the precise window, so we will contact the winner and send him or her the prize when we do. See everyone else at noon on Saturday!