The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #122


A reader writes:

Everything about this photo makes me think Korea: The fog, the rolling hills in the background, the mixture of small shop buildings and high-rise apartment towers, the long line of taxis, cars on the right side, evergreen foliage, and what appears to be a fried chicken restaurant just to the right of center. The city of Gangnam? It's what's missing that makes me think I'm wrong: not a scooter bike in sight. 


I believe the picture is in Acapulco, Mexico. The landscape looks Mexican – a mixture of poverty and affluence. The style of that commercial strip at the bottom of the picture is also something you see all over the country. Why I am pretty sure it is Acapulco in particular are the taxis in the photo, which are blue and white – very distinctive. As far as I know, these taxis are only found in Acapulco.


This is the first time I have really tried to attack a picture I knew nothing about.  Blowing it up, I couldn't find anything super unique, but googling the shape of the street signs that are at each cross walk in the foreground intersection match Italian crosswalk signs. Italians drive on the right, and the general impression of the architecture, car styling, and plant life seems consistent with Italy. The weather, peaked roofs and general impression make me think northern Italy. For some reason Torino comes to mind, as fitting the more industrial, hilly, northern Italian city.


Is it Poland? Looks like my Motherland. Soviet-style block buildings, (failingly) cheered up by colorful paint. Itty bitty cars. Gloomy, rainy autumn weather.


Well, at least it's not a shot of another beautiful beach and/or exotic locale that sadly 99% of your readers will never visit. O, to be part of that 1%! My guess: Bratislava, Slovakia.

Another nails the right country:

The signs, cars, and weather are European; the shabby architecture and tiny open-air market say Eastern Europe. The Coca-Cola logo is in Latin script, which eliminates Russia, Ukraine, Serbia, and a few others. I'll guess Romania for the country. The city is hilly enough that it has to be in the north or west, so I'll take a stab with Ia?i, the old Moldavian capital.


I confess I am one of those participants who is way, way too lazy to ever get on Google Earth to figure out window angles and stuff like that, but having lived here for over six years now, this photo absolutely screams Romania! (The sad thing is I've probably driven down that damn street at one point or another.) The rising hill in the background says its likely a Transylvanian city like Cluj and the pine trees also say 'north of the Carpathians'. I am going to go with Brasov since the streets are wide and there's that hill in the background, but if it's Cluj or Baia Mare I won't be surprised.

Indeed it is Cluj. Two readers correctly guesssed the northwest Romanian city:

Based on the road signs, the shack in the front, and the crappy lamp posts, this is my native Romania :-). The city is hilly, there are mountains nearby, and some level of orderliness is present, so my bet would be on one the Transylvanian cities. Cluj would be an obvious bet, as it is big enough to have Dish readers, but it is most probably too far away from the mountains.

The other isn't much more confident:

First time participant so forgive me if my answer sounds like a joke! I searched for pictures of red taxis (I think that's one in the bottom right corner) and found this (note that the car behind the red and white taxi looks like the white car in the bottom left of the image you posted).  Then I looked up blue crosswalk signs and I think they have those in Cluj-Napoca? I really don't know. I'm not exactly worldly but I always wanted to try one of these contests.

Both Cluj entrants are also first-time participants, so there is no real way to break the tie. We'll just have to award two book prizes this week. Details from the submitter:

I've just moved back to my country, Romania, after living in Canada for a while, and it just occured to me that I don't remember having seen views from Romania on your blog. So here's my view (from the 6th floor of an apartment block similar to the one in the picture): Cluj-Napoca, today September 20 at 14:25 p.m.

Over the past six years the Dish has actually featured four VFYWs from Romania – here, here, here and here. Update from a reader:

When I saw the name Cluj it rang a bell straight away, then I remembered that's the name of the obscure Romanian team I've heard mentioned in all the sports bulletins today as they play Manchester United in soccer's Champion's League tonight.

Was this a deliberate move by a soccer aficionado on the team? Or just one of those odd coincidences that the VFYW throws up every now and then?

The latter.