A reader writes:
The rolling forested hills, mist, and giant construction project look like southern China. I'm guessing the outskirts of Shenzhen, which is still working on expanding its subway line.
Lilongwe, Malawi? The Chinese have made and are making enormous investments in the infrastructure of African nations, on a scale that should be alarming to the West. In these no longer isolated parts of the world, quality modern urban design updates and enhances the European fabric from another era. Stade des Jeunes, home of the Civo United Football Club, is one example of such contributions, and its current renovation seems to have produced one of the better looking stadiums. This window view of the construction site could have come from the seventh floor of the nearby Crossroads Hotel. The one problem is that the area around the stadium is more densely urban and developed than your photograph suggests, but perhaps more buildings are merely obscured by the fog. I can't be certain because I haven't set foot on that continent in 40 years.
I believe that's the Nissan International Stadium Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture we are looking towards from across the Tsurumi River. But from which building? Even Google Maps seems to have only Japanese names for the buildings.
This is a view of Wörtherseestadion in Klagenfurt, Austria, with fog shrouding the Alps in the background.
Arena Recife under construction for World Cup 2014, in Recife, Brazil?
Perhaps the Stockholmsarenan/Tele2 Arena? The balloons outside the window are Sweden's national flag colors. From there a quick search of "Sweden stadiums, retractable" gave many lists. There are several. This one looked most like your picture. Sorry no time this weekend for further research. This will have to do!
Another nails the correct city:
Ljubljana, Slovenia? I got there by recognizing the obvious – that this is a soccer/football stadium (or something similar), likely in a eastern Europe (from the architecture of the building from which the picture was taken). Staring at the image a bit, it's clear that the stadium would not have a big enough capacity to justify all the parking spots around it unless it was sunken. So I googled "sunken stadium" and pretty quickly ended up with this stadium. I'm going to work some more on the exact location within the building, but I wanted to lay down a marker in case I get too caught up in work. I'm still smarting from not considering Vanuatu two weeks ago – the only island in the world I didn't look at (I'd passed it over since I thought it was flat) – so it's nice to get one.
This week's VFYW was a toughie, but I lucked onto the answer within about half an hour. The image clearly shows a soccer stadium with some kind of building or other concrete structure surrounding it. Page 6 of the results of a Google image search for "football stadium concrete plaza" included this picture, a smallish stadium with an unbroken rectangular canopy and light posts. The picture came from this story on the new Stožice Sports Park in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, and I knew after a couple of exterior shots and the description of the adjacent "multi-purpose sports hall" that I'd found it.
Google Maps shows all the features in the photo: the soccer stadium, the "cutouts" in the sports hall, the garden allotments, and the curving junction behind, with the photo showing a view from the southwest. Based on the alignment of elements, it appears the photo was taken from the complex of high-rise buildings at 75 Vojkova Road – specifically, the northernmost building of the four. From the height, I'll guess a 9th-story window.
Slovenia is the most prosperous Balkan country, owing in part to it having the earliest and most bloodless break from the former Yugoslavia, and are full EU Eurozone members. I mention this because it makes it all the more surprising they would build such a hideous concrete monstrosity for their national sports complex – the stadium and arena (barely visible in the left edge of the window) host the Slovenian national soccer and basketball teams, as well as the capital's major professional clubs. It looks as though Tito built it forty years earlier!
So I googled "sunken stadium" and pretty quickly ended up here:
It's a view of the sunken Stožice Stadium in Ljubljana, seen from roughly the 17th floor of the building shown on the following images located along Vojkova cesta, probably at #77 (hard to get the exact address – the pictures below are much more accurate)
I got there by recognizing the obvious – that this is a football (soccer) stadium. I initially thought, because of the overall height on the structure and the unfinished look of the surrounding area, that it was in the middle of construction, which made me think immediately of Brazil and all the stadium construction they're doing for the 2014 World Cup. But a quick inspection of those venues did not match anything. So I looked at the image more carefully and concluded that it was more likely in eastern Europe (from the architecture of the building from which the picture was taken) and, more importantly, that the only way the stadium could be big enough to justify all the parking built around it, while being so apparently short was if it were sunken.
A quick look at Google Maps made it clear that the photo was taken from this block of apartments overlooking the park to the south of the stadium:
As to exactly how high, it looks like it was taken pretty high up. I tried various ways to estimate the height and always get it somewhere around 15-20 stories high. So I'm going to go in the middle of that and say 17 stories up, or around three stories from the top, or this window:
Another also guessed the 17th floor of the Vojkova Apartments. But the winner this week, by the skin of his teeth, was the reader who guessed the floor closest to the exact one – the 15th:
Just heard about your contest last week, and have spent a hundred hours on looking back at games 1 through 50 so far. My wife is now upset, but she is the one who told me about the contest. This is generally really really hard. I found this stadium while searching for Brazilian soccer stadiums and a picture of the Stozice sports complex came up in Ljubljana Slovenia. The hard part was deciding exactly which building and what floor. The building has to be one of the towers of the Vojkova cesta complex of buildings. Either 75 or 77, I'm going with 77 which is the far right building looking from the stadium. It is a window just to the left of the balcony and I'm going to guess 14 stories up.
Hopefully winning the book prize will make her less upset.