The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #154

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A reader writes:

Satellite dishes and shadows say somewhere not far from the equator.  Karst-ish mountains, slightly exotic architecture, a Pizzeria. I’m going to go with some moderately biggish upland city in Malaysia. Maybe Indonesia.


This reminded me of the view from an office I worked in many years ago. It was located just west of Main Street, north of Broadway in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. The mountains in the background look similar to a mountain range that is affectionately referred to as Sleeping Beauty on Vancouver’s North Shore. I imagine we can all see what we want to see for when my partner looked at the photo he sais, no it could not be Vancouver as the mountains appear too close. He is right of course, but it sure brought me a sense of deja vu. It was fun to think I might of solved my first “view”.


I hate you. Or to be more precise, my wife hates you for taking me away from her this Saturday for nearly 90 minutes while I was going crazy trying find out where in the Vancouver area this photo was taken. (Juneau was briefly considered, but no dice.) So where is it? Vancouver proper? North Vancouver? Burnaby? I’m burned out and discouraged! Please let me know if I wasn’t thorough enough with my googling OR if I was on the wrong track altogether. Whichever it is, my wife won’t forgive you, but I will.


You can see a DirectTV logo on the satellite on the roof, but other than that I’m stumped. Apparently DirectTV can only be found in the Western Hemisphere, so at least it’s narrowed down a bit. The motorcycles and the lush green hills suggest central or South America to me. Just now I’m noticing the Venezuelan flag on the opposite building, so assuming that’s not an embassy, I’m guessing this is Caracas, Venezuela. No doubt someone will find the exact window, but I don’t have much time left, so I’ll have to leave it at that.


This is my first attempt to send in my ideas about a VFMY contest, although I am a regular if often befuddled contestant. At first I got very first world northern vibes from the photo – the deciduous valled18kmtrees, the general buildup of strip malls, clean streets, good lighting, etc., but then decided the flag flying on the building in the left portion of the photo was the flag of Colombia, South America and was forced away from my preconceived notions. From there I poked around a few maps – veering north away from the equator, due to the lack of palm trees, etc., and looking at a topical map for hilly areas. I settled on the town of Valledupar, Colombia, a rather nice low rise city set against the foothills of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. From there I looked at many a Google picture, but never did get much farther. ( I have enclosed a small photo of downtown Valledupar for your perusal.) Of course, I am hopelessly wrong, but still, as always I enjoyed the ride. And I do think I may be close; close as in the right hemisphere, lol.


Cucuta, Colombia is a wild guess. I have no idea what city this is, but the Colombian flag in the photo makes the country pretty obvious. I did learn a few things while searching vainly for further clues to this week’s location:

1) Colombia has no Street View, which made this quite difficult. I’d hoped to be able to spot that radio/TV tower from street level.

2) Every city in Colombia is nestled at the foot of thickly forested mountainsides.

3) Colombia is an absolutely gorgeous country. It has now moved the top of my bucket list of travel destinations.


Judging by the tall buildings and the peninsula peak in the background, this is obviously Christchurch, New Zealand. The Colombian flag is the kicker, seeing as the two countries have a good relationship.


It’s definitely Colombia. Even I couldn’t miss the flag flying from the building in the foreground. If it turns out this is a Colombian embassy in another country, please let me kick the photographer in the shins. But I’m pretty sure it’s in Colombia because the the No Parking sign that’s visible matches what I found online. (Would you believe that Colombian road signs have their own Wikipedia page? Because of course they do.) I’m going to guess Cali, Colombia and hope that either that radio mast or those satellite dishes belong to Telepacifico.

Another pins down the correct city:

With the yellow, red and blue flag partially visible, I’m figuring this window is in either be in Venezuela or Colombia (unless you’re throwing us a huge curve ball). With the death of Chavez and the “election” of Maduro, Caracas would be logical, but I’m going to go against the grain and go with the downtown business district of Bogota, Colombia.

Another clarifies the flag distinction:

The flag was a giveaway (unless there are stars in the blue field, which would make it Venezuela):


The formations of the mountains in the background suggest Bogota.  So, there we are.

Another gets the right address:

It’s Bogota, Colombia, probably a Sunday by looks of no traffic, near Parque 93; from the Google maps, Calle 93 w/Carrera 13A. the nice northern neighborhoods, Chico, looking east north east to the hills.  You can see the trace of the road to La Calera going up the forested hill on the right. I’m a loyal, currently freeloading, reader.  Dag, for karma I’ll [tinypass_offer text=”subscribe”], now that I’m on the proverbial map.

I would add that this northern privileged neighborhood, with fine restaurants and walkable parks, is a prospect well known to the privileged (diplomats such as my family) but it literally turns its back on the bulk of the teeming, 9 million people mega-city that is filling the high mountain valley, la sabana; the poor live in the south, about 10 miles away.  The city is relatively flat and sprawling; you can drink the tap water because it comes from the pristine paramo ecosystem in Chingaza National Park, up in the mountains to the east. Air pollution from chronic congestion and dirty diesel busetas make the city gritty and smelly most places, particularly to the south and west; public transport is a big challenge for most Bogotanos.  Sundays and holidays, however, the city closes many kilometers of road to cars for ciclovia from early in the morning until 2:00 p.m. and thousands of Bogotanos ride, walk, run, skate with whatever means of conveyance available, fresh fruit and juice stands pop up on corners, aerobic classes are held in parks, no matter the rain or sun, and the city seems democratic, even optimistic.

Another sends an image of the correct building, seen to the right. Another almost gets the right floor:

The word is out and Colombia is officially on the backpacker trail in South America – much to the chagrin of the burgeoning expat community here. Most international travelers will make a stop at best-westernsome point in the capital city pictured here, Bogotá. Sitting on a wide plateau at an elevation nearly two miles up, the city of about eight million hardly fits the stereotype of a tropical city. In fact, some nights here are downright chilly. The good news is that day trips close to the capital abound and you’re never too far from tierra caliente. Unlimited live music options, vibrant nightlife, great restaurants, markets, colonial neighborhoods, low cost of living, and beautiful people are all reasons to visit.

The mountains, architecture and street signs on buildings in the picture (not to mention the flag flying above a nearby building) pointed immediately to Bogotá. The photo is facing the mountains East-Northeast from a spot close to Parque 93, an upscale restaurant and bar district. If you have money and want to see and be seen, this is one of the more popular areas in the city. You will likely have dozens of correct guesses for Bogotá this week, but fewer who can decipher the location given the sprawl of the city. The key for me was the pizzeria in the bottom left-hand corner. It’s a new location of a local chain called ‘Da Quei Matti’ that has a decent, if overpriced pie. The picture was taken from an apartment building across the street, just west of Carrera 13A on Calle 93. The weird address system here might throw some people this week. Calles run East-West, and Carreras North-South. The first number of an address is the street you’re on, the second the closest cross street plus the building number. I’m going to guess this was taken from a 5th floor apartment at Calle 93, #13A-08.

So close: 6th floor. The winner this week was the only reader among the dozen to guess the right floor who has guessed a difficult window in the past without yet winning (but those dozen will now be added to the “Correct Guessers” list, giving them an edge in future tie-breakers):

Another fun/challenging one. The flag was either a gimme or the Colombian Embassy anywhere, and if the latter I was hosed, so I chose the former. Green mountains in the background suggested Calle93BogotaColombiaBogota, but not much success until I identified the large black building in the far background, which shows up in several of the photos taken from the ridge to the east of the city. From there it was a matter of wandering off in the right direction until the right collection of roofs showed up. Not the usual hotel/motel, at least Google doesn’t admit to it. I’m guessing just from sight lines that this was taken from the sixth floor, north-east corner of the building (see attached photo). BTW I tried googling pizzarias to see if I could narrow it down that way and had zero luck.

Thanks again for running these contests. I was on travel all weekend so started late Sunday night and finished Monday afternoon (some work intervened).