A reader writes:
This is another tough one, and I don’t know where it is. My first thought was Europe, and the balconies, awnings, and tiled roofs on the apartment buildings suggested Southern Europe, as did the poplar trees. But the cars don’t look right – I wouldn’t expect to see those minivans in Europe. Maybe it's South America? Like Buenos Aires or Santiago? So, I don’t know – it might help if I could make out the sidewalk café's name, or the brand of beer on the sign outside … I'm stumped, but I'll guess Buenos Aires, Argentina!
Obviously European. Red and yellow signage at lower right pegs it in Spain, as does the little red Seat-brand looking car. Big city, so probably one or the other of the great Spanish urban rivals Barcelona or Madrid. Barcelona, where my family is from, has relatively few streets that run in both directions in areas with that kind of architectecture. Plus, buildings in Barcelona's Eixample neighborhood, where this would most likely be taken, are only six stories tall – these are more or less eight. So I'm going with Madrid, and, being Catalan, I therefore do not care to spend any more time on this week's contest. (If I'm wrong, please don't let it be Barcelona!)
Not Barcelona – or Madrid. Another:
I'm guessing Antakya, Turkey because it's the only time an answer has jumped into my head so immediately upon viewing a picture. (I've also correctly guessed several times in the past when I did not bother to send an answer in – Damascus, Paris, St. Andrews – and ended up kicking myself over it.) The vegetation and light quality seem right – definitely Mediterranean – but I also don't think it's Spain. It's too clean to be North Africa. Probably that store front is readable by someone more tech-savvy than me, who will reveal this to be a picture of Chile or something, but I'm gonna go with my gut.
This is a view over Charles Square (Karlovo nám?stí) in the Czech capital, Prague. I just don't have the energy (or interest) to spend hours researching the exact building, time of day, window, etc. of the photograph. I mean, the contest is "The View From Your Window"; the goal is to determine the view rather than the window. If not, maybe the contest should be renamed something like "The Window Of Your View" or something else that stresses the building and window rather than the view. Prague is a lovely city – what more does a person need to know?
That it's not Prague! Another:
Tough one. Maybe someone will recognize the signs on the businesses, but I couldn't find anything concrete to go on. The satellite angles and general feel of the photo suggest northern Europe. Since my mom's side of the family is Danish, I'm going to go with Copenhagen.
You sneaky bastards.
At first glance this looks like a fairly easy VFYW. Then you start to study it closely and realize there's almost nothing with which to anchor yourself – no legible license plates or street signs (that blue/white "PD" looking sign on the bottom right is a googlers dead-end), and fairly nondescript buildings that could be suburbs in any European or even southern cone South American city (Buenos Aires, Santiago).
The most striking things in the picture are the lime green tables and chairs outside that cafe. I mean, seriously … lime green chairs. And so it is that I find myself on a Saturday afternoon google-imaging "cafe lime green chairs outside." The only plausible hit comes from some woman's lovely blog about her year-long sabbatical in France. Walking through Lyon, she stumbled upon these tables and found them striking enough to photograph. In her picture, the restaurant seems to be "Le Panier a Salade" which is located in the heart of Place Neuve Saint Jean, which is my final answer.
One of the joys of VFYW is discovering blogs during the hunt. Almost makes up for the compulsion to comb through hundreds of lime green table google image pics on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.
I have a great idea for a movie. A demented criminal mastermind hides a nuclear bomb somewhere in a major city in the United States. In order to taunt the police, he sends them a clue – an extreme close-up photo of a brick at the base of the building where the bomb is hidden. The police are stumped, until one intrepid rookie decides to send the photo to a certain beagle-loving blogger. The blogger posts the photo online for his readers to see. Ninety minutes later, the bomb is found, along with a story about how somebody proposed to their girlfriend right in front of that brick. It would make a fortune, don't you think?
P.S. I have no idea where that picture was taken.
It's definitely Switzerland. In the bottom-right corner, next to the cafe, is a Swiss parking meter, yellow cycle lanes, overheard strung lights, and a sign for Cardinal beer. The beer is brewed in Fribourg but also found in the capital Bern and Zurich. The architecture reminds me more of Zurich just north of the city. I was looking at Google Street View without success. Since I won #33, my wife only let's me search VFYW for half an hour. So I'll stick with Fribourg.
It is definitely Switzerland. Another:
The buildings, the old ones in the background and the newer ones ('70s, '80s) in the foreground look truly Swiss. But why I'm sure it's Switzerland is because of the bar sign in the yellow house. This looks like the Cardinal brand, a Swiss beer brand which is brewed in Fribourg. So my guess would be that this is from a Swiss city in the French speaking part of the country – let's say Lausanne, cause the place isn't flat …
The yellow markings for the bike lane and (especially) the pedestrian crosswalk suggest that the photo was taken in a city in Switzerland; apparently, very few European countries have yellow pedestrian crosswalk markings. I couldn't pin down an exact location, but my hunch is that the photo was taken in Geneva.
Good hunch! About a dozen readers correctly guessed Geneva. One writes:
Easy. I imagine loads of people will get this. The Coop supermarket in the photo was my local for three years. The photo is taken from the building on the corner of Rue Voltaire and Rue Vuache. Probably from the fourth floor or fifth floor for Americans. Here's the view of the building the photo was taken from. Here's the view from street level:
I already won this competition last year by getting Lausanne, but thought I’d email in anyway because, well, OMG that’s my town! My office is about three blocks from here, and I very nearly got an apartment in older building on the far corner of the T-junction in the picture (rue Benjamin, where the white car is leaving the frame on the right). There’s a railway bridge immediately behind the photographer; behind that is the stop, Isaac Mercier, where I catch the #13 or #14 tram home every evening.
The Salvation Army shelter is round the corner, so this is not the most salubrious area in the city, though it’s hardly dangerous. However, if any intrepid Dishers want to go have a look, they should walk down the hill behind the frame to the railway line, turn left and walk two blocks North alongside the tracks (on rue de Malatrex) to Trattoria da Tonino, on the corner with rue Servette, who does a very tasty Penne alla Siciliana.
The address where the photographer was standing is either rue de Voltaire 10, 1201 Geneve, or rue du Vuache 1, 1201 Geneve – not sure on the configuration of the staircase in the building, so I’m afraid I can’t tell you which. The photographer is facing West looking along rue Voltaire towards the (rather under-rated in my view) neighbourhood of St.-Jean. As a little variation on a theme, I patriotically put together the ubiquitous aerial photograph on our very own web-map service, www.search.ch, rather than on Google: http://map.search.ch/d/zllztk4nz.
You should give this week’s prize to someone who doesn’t live here though, because most people who do will immediately recognize the distinctive Geneva architecture and yellow Swiss road paint.
A good point. A quick detour:
The fact that I've been living in Geneva for the last two years and still can't find this view, even though I'm absolutely positive that it's here somewhere, makes me realize just how hard this contest is. So I'm just gonna go with the Jonction neighborhood of town. Here is a view of it, behind the beautiful Rhone, from my window:
So the location is looking out from a building down onto the Coop at 18 Rue Voltaire. I recognized it instantly – the slope of the road, small cars, architecture of the buildings – I thought, hey, that's Geneva. Looked a little closer and I saw the Coop sign; I've stocked up on Suchard (swiss hot cocoa), vervene tea and chocolate bars there a number of times. Then, of course, the yellow SwissPost truck left no doubt it was Switzerland. A quick poke around Google maps led me right to Rue Voltaire and you can't miss those pink buildings.
I've already been lucky enough to win one book (Brookline), after also guessing Lausanne correctly, so no need to consider me for this one. Plus this spares me sending screenshots and guessing exact windows. But it was fun to reminisce about the really fun karaoke bar that used to be across the street from the building where the photo was taken. Good times.
Wow, I've always wanted to go to Italy, and now I feel like I have! The place looks Italian, and I looked at many Italian cities in Google Maps but noticed they all had white crosswalks. I looked in some other nearby countries and saw Switzerland had yellow ones. There seem to be only a few places in Switzerland where there are 7+ story buildings like these ones. I looked along bus routes in Geneva and Zurich and was about to give up when I saw a pink/yellow building in the satellite view. I held my breath and went to street view and saw it was right! I highlighted the window in the attached picture:
Should be in the corner building above La Bella Gallipoli restaurant on Rue Voltaire, though it looks like the building's entrance is on Rue du Vauche. I think it's the 2nd window in (away from Rue Voltaire) because of angles. I think it's sixth floor because it seems to line up with the 5th floor in the pink building, and the slope should be going down. Also the iron work at the bottom of the picture looks to be directly in the window frame, and lower floors look like they have it a little outside. Google maps doesn't show a hotel and there isn't any sign, so I'm guessing an apartment.
A previous winner sends another one of her multi-part diagrams:
Another guesses a different window:
I hope this note finds you after a restful long weekend. Despite hoping to spend little time near my computer this weekend, my heart leapt when I spotted the yellow cross walk in the VFYW contest. Those had to be from my native Switzerland! The satellite antennas made me think this had to be in the French-speaking part of Switzerland (the German speaking Swiss are too neat for Satellite dishes). The sign on the corner of the pink building looked like "Coop", one of Switzerland's largest retail chains. A search of Coops in Geneva soon revealed the one pictured here, seen from the apartment building on the corner of Rue du Vuache and Rue Voltaire. The railings and wire probably make this one easier for skilled contestants, but it's still just a guess for me … maybe it's the leftmost window on the fifth floor?
Thank you for giving me 'home' court advantage; now I have two successful VFYWs under my belt!
Yet another close tie this week, and we have yet to hear back from the submitter of the photo as to which window is the precise vantage point. We will update as soon as we hear back.
Update: Our submitter points to the window in the second row from the top, second window from the left:
Wow, that is indeed exactly correct, my kitchen window! Suddenly I find myself ever-so-slightly frightened
Only one other reader (who hasn't won a contest already) correctly guessed that window:
Yesterday, a friend posted to Facebook that they were leaving Switzerland, so I e-mailed and asked if the contest photo reminded them of anything. "Perhaps Lausanne, it reminds me of a train trip from Zurich to Geneva". So I spent some fruitless hours cruising around Lausanne, before visiting Geneva. I looked for places with at least a few trees on the south side of the street, and none on the north side. The link to the street view is here. Looking back at the building, and finding place on the road where the tip of the tree, a spot on the road, and the window all line up makes me think the window is the one circled in orange.