The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #160

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A reader writes:

I’m getting an Eastern European vibe from the architecture, but not overwhelmingly so. Perhaps a former part of the USSR? Romania? Bucharest?


This is my very first submission to VFYW, but I have a strong hunch this is from the former Yugoslavia, specifically Sarajevo, with its hilly topography, ugly government buildings, and charming red-shingled roofs.


I am in the midst of planning the final details of my vacation, later this month, to Croatia, which is why I’m sure this isn’t Zagreb, even though it looks exactly like all of the photos I’ve been poring over on websites and in guide books.  That would be just too much of a coincidence.


Dubrovnik, Croatia? Total guess.  I’ve got nothing more than “somewhere in Croatia” but figured I should at least try to guess a city.  Even the country is a guess!  I know someone will have rescued a family of marmosets from a fire in that building on the left but it wasn’t me!

Another gets close:

The hills, the whitewashed buildings with red-tiled roofs … gotta be Lisbon, looking southwest.

Another locks down the right location:

Based on the architecture it seemed obviously Mediterranean or at least Southern European.  I started in Athens, nope.  Naples, nope.  Tunis, nope.  Lisbon – looks like it!  But it couldn’t find the hill in the background with the corresponding out-of-place high-rise.  So I tried Porto … nope.  Coimbra … voila!


The picture was taken from the Hotel Tivoli in Coimbra, Portugal.  The Google map screenshot above shows the Hotel Tivoli in the upper left, the 6-peaked zig-zaggy roof in the foreground of the VFYW is just right and below the hotel, and the dark glass high-rise prominent in the VFYW is in the bottom right of the Google map screenshot.

I won with Granada a couple weeks ago, so I’m DQ’d from the winner, but I still like to be in the winners’ circle.

Another previous winner in the winner’s circle

So I’ve noted a similar sentiment before, but if you can work your way past all the pornography and cat videos, the remaining 8% or so of the internet is all about cataloguing bridges.  Is bridge-spotting a thing?  If it is, I’m becoming an accidental enthusiast.  When we VFYWers write the book on how to play this game, a prominent chapter will be devoted to identifying bridges.300px-Puente_Coimbra2

And this week’s bridge in the background is a cable-stayed bridge with a single slanted pylon, and in searching for it I happened across a dude whose life’s work appears to be a website featuring circa-1996 HTML that alphabetically lists every bridge in Europe, with photos.

Italy, nope.  Spain, nope.  Portugal … perhaps?  I found one that seemed to fit the general shape and scope of the bridge in the window view, and so we checked the town of Coimbra for another age-old VFYW trick – the Ugly Building That Should Not Be.  It’s almost always tall, dark, 40 or so years old, and disrupts an otherwise scenic or historical tableau.  Sure enough, we found it – so Coimbra it is.

The view is from the Hotel Tivoli Coimbra.  6th floor?  Why not.  From here I’ll let the yet-to-win crowd send in maps and visuals. By the way, between this and the view from the South of France a few weeks back, Europe needs a pressure washing.  I know it’s been a tough decade and budgets are tight, but still.  Have the Queen of Europe contact me to discuss rates.

Enjoyed as always – made for a nice little Saturday night at home.  Y’all enjoy the 4th – America, Fuck Yeah!

Our all-time best player strikes again:

VFYW Coimbra Overhead Marked - Copy

Despite its size, and the fact that it contains one of the oldest universities in Europe, I don’t think I’d ever even heard the name of the city featured in your viewer’s photo. Nothing like the VFYW contest to reveal one’s ignorance of the world.

This week’s view comes from Coimbra, Portugal. The picture was taken from the top floor of the Tivoli Hotel and looks south, south east along a heading of 162 degrees towards the Torre Arnado, the modernist high rise at center frame. The large buildings atop the hill in the distance are those of the University of Coimbra, founded in 1290 and the thirteenth oldest university on Earth. A marked overhead map as well as a near view of the likely window are attached.

VFYW Coimbra Actual Window Marked - Copy

The winner this week is the reader with the most specific guess who hasn’t won already but guessed a difficult view in the past:

This is in Coimbra, Portugal, whose university, visible in the foreground, was just classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Although I’m Portuguese, and have been to Coimbra many times, this wasn’t immediately apparent from the photo, as they can be tricky, and if this contest has teached me something is that faraway places can look very familiar sometimes.

So the first clue wasn’t the university, but the bridge, just barely visible peeking over a building. It’s called the Europa Bridge and is infamous in Portugal for the time it took to build and for going seriously over budget in the meantime, having been projected at 38 million, and ending up costing 111 million.

Using the orientation of pillar as a compass, a little search with google maps led me to the main tower in the picture, and from there to Tivoli Hotel, at João Machado Street, from where this picture was taken:


I’m guessing from a room high up the hotel, probably in the last floor. No doubt lots of people will get this one right, and someone will probably tell you exactly the room number, but it’s always fun to get one right.

Even more fun to win. Details from the submitter:

This was the first time you’ve ever picked one of my views (I’ve only submitted a half dozen or so) and for a contest no less! I was pretty excited. I suspect you’ll get quite a few correct answers to this contest, as anyone who has visited this picturesque university town will likely remember the ugly building that sticks out like a sore thumb. The picture is taken from the 5th floor (6th floor US style) of the Tivoli Hotel in Coimbra, Portugal, room 515. It’s the 3rd room after the elevator, in case you have people who tried to identify the specific window.

An honorable mention from a first-time correct guesser:

I thought this one was going to take a lot longer than it did. It probably means I just got lucky sooner this time. It also probably means that you are going to again shatter my weekend’s sense of triumphalism at doing the impossible by labeling this an “easy” view.

The architecture and the red tiled roofs had me thinking somewhere around the Mediterranean. The building up on the hill on the left looks to be a university or government building of some sort so I started scanning maps of cities with famous colleges around the Mediterranean. The black tower in the center of the photo jumped out on Google Earth almost as soon as I called up Coimbra. From there it was easy to trace back the view to one of the rooms on the top floors of the Hotel Tivoli. The black railing from the photo matches those that you can see from StreetView. From the angle it is from the right side of the hotel entrance when facing it from the street and from one of the top two floors. My guess is fourth window from the center, second floor down: