vfyw_10-12

A reader writes:

Mediterranean I suppose, and I’m going to lay a marker down that those are terraced almond trees cut into the hillside. That peak in the background is probably some famous hill and the reason the pic was taken. But wait a minute – I call Shenanigans! This is the View from your Window Contest, and the goal has always ultimately been to find the window. But this week’s view is clearly shot from a vehicle pulled over to the side of the road. The barricade gives it away, as does the sloped angle of the shotgun window.

Finding good photos for the contest – interesting locations that are not too easy but not too challening – is much more difficult than you would imagine, so we have to bend the usual parameters for the contest sometimes. Another reader:

This one is quite problematic. The terrain and the fortified structure on the hill suggest Israel. The window, however, seems to be an automobile window, so its location is up for debate. My guess, the passenger window of a 2012 Honda Pilot, blue:

honda

Another:

Route 66, 12 miles west of Kingmam, Arizona, shot from a 2010 Toyota Camry SE with leather trim and the six-speaker Infinity sound system, but no sunroof.

Another:

This is a view out into the Arizona high country from Paolo Soleri’s “urban laboratory,” Arcosanti. The poured cement, with a very un-laboratory-like railing, and the view into the valley just look very familiar from my visits there. Arcosanti is a mind-trip: Soleri imagined that thousands would flock to what we would now call a low-impact commune and re-imagine what a city would be. No one showed up, and now 65 or so people live there. The place supports itself by the very capitalist project of selling bronze bells.

Another:

Not much to go on other than flora and landscape!  With all the talk about Breaking Bad, I was tempted to go for the Southwestern US – that hilltop compound would be an ideal meth-lord stronghold. But, I seemed to recall from geography that Southern Italy was once well known for terraced farming, which those giant “steps” in the hillside look like.  And a Google search told me that the Ragusa region is also well known for the limestone walls the farmers built after excavating the land.

Another:

My first impression is Andalucia, Spain, based on it looking dry, with olive trees and pine trees, and scrub brush, and pastel buildings in square shapes that remind me of Moorish architecture. But mostly because there was a British TV show on PBS last night called Rosemary and Thyme, about two female gardeners who solve murders, and the episode was set in Andalucia and it looked just like this photo.

Another:

It could be anywhere in Spain (or, for that matter, half a dozen other Mediterranean countries), so I’ll hedge my bets and put the marker rather centric – the mounts of Toledo, Spain. To pointlessly narrow it down, let’s say road CM-403 south of Las Ventas con Peña Aguilera, Spain (my grandfather’s birthplace).

Another:

Somewhere in northern Jordan? Or perhaps it’s the site of the fictional “Deressa” from the French-Canadian film Incendies.

Another:

I got this!

I probably don’t really have this at all. I suck at this contest. But this looks to me a heck of a lot like the island of Cyprus where I had, a couple years ago, the best vacation of my life. Just a wonderful place, that island. But I remember this is how it looks in the winter out in the countryside – out in the patch of sort of rolling mountains between the resort city of Paphos on the western coast heading up towards the lesser resort city of Polis on the north coast. You can rent out little houses in villages out there, most of the time way cheaper than you could get a hotel room in the city. Really a cool experience, seeing the villagers wake up in the morning, go out hunting, go to church, go shout at each other in the street because they’re still hung over from the night before. God help you though if you get lost.

But anyway, the scrubby, Mediterranean trees look right to me. So does the way the hills are terraced for little fruit groves. The road switch backs look right because the roads there are so windy you can barely go more than twenty miles an hour. Even the way the valley sprawls out with the villages clinging to the tops of hills. Even the beige color of that building on the right and its pink wall and its water tank on the roof. All says Cyprus to me. All makes me want to go back.

Cyprus daily dish map 1

Specifically what town? BAH! How should I know? They’re all pretty much the same and I need to go to the gym and this person I don’t think is even in a house! Standing on the side of some road! Window of their car! THEIR CAR! That’s not how this works!

Still, I’m going to guess though. Like stab in the dark guess. I’m going to say they’re on this switchback by this itty-bitty village called Melamiou looking back towards the more substantial village of Polemoi. Mostly I’m picking that because that’s near where I stayed when I was out there and the switchback looks right.

Another:

Looks like a rain collector on the roof of the building and the architecture seems to be familiar drab design one sees a lot in Israel. Mountainous and rocky terrain seem like the Golan region.

Another:

We’re doing car windows now? Really? This could bring it to a new level of insane.

So my instinct was Spain, but after puttering around the south for awhile, my boyfriend pointed out that the guards on the side of the road are different. I quickly jumped to the other country it reminded me of, Israel, and found that those guards fit better. That is where it ends however, because rolling dry hills describes way too much of Israel. I’m going with somewhere just outside of the south of Jerusalem, just because the north is more green and Jerusalem seems like a likely candidate for a Dish reader to visit.

Having already won once, the pressure is off and I find I’m enjoying the contest more. Best of luck to the winner!

Another:

Hilly country, terraced slope with olive trees, dry but not arid – Northern Israel or the West Bank would be my guess, not that I’ve ever been there.

West Bank it is. Another:

The terraced hills and the green-brown landscape remind me of the stretch of the West Bank between Ramallah and Nablus. That windy highway and cinderblock architecture could be on any small-to-medium Jewish settlement in the Judean Hills, so after a quick browse on Google Images I’ve settled on Givat HaRoeh. With my luck, this’ll be Tuscany.

Another settles on the right location:

I’m really annoyed that I can’t get this one exactly. I was sure I was  looking south at the mountains that slope down from Amman to the Jordan Valley and Dead Sea. But after scouring Jordanian mountains for a couple of hours I finally realized that if we are indeed in the hills above the Jordan Valley, we can’t be on the East Bank because the satellite dish on top of the house at right would be facing the wrong direction. So, assuming I’m right about this being somewhere in the Jordan Valley, we must be in the West Bank. I’m too pissed to keep looking, though, so I’ll just say Nablus because it’s plausible. Could be Syria, I guess, Turkey, Cambodia? Dunno. I’m sicking with Nablus.

Nablus it is. But the winner this week is much more detailed and has participated in more contests, thus breaking the tie:

Wow! This seemed to be one of those epically hard views that you throw at us every once in a while, so I’m pretty surprised to have stumbled on the answer. Between the terrain and the olive trees, I figured this was somewhere in the Mediterranean. Wikipedia gave me the world’s top olive-producing countries and I did image searches for the first few, dismissing places like Algeria and Tunisia and thinking Greece seemed close but not quite right. I thought this could be Israel, but Israel wasn’t on Wikipedia’s list. Palestine was on there, though, so I moved in that direction. Searching “Palestine valley town” in Google Images led me to an article featuring a picture of rocky hills and shrubbery that looked pretty similar to the view in question. The article mentioned “the Salfit area of the West Bank,” so I narrowed my search and found another picture/article combo that mentioned “Salim” and “Nablus.” Even though I felt I was close, you can imagine my surprise when a search for “Nablus valley” turned up this particular shot:

road-to-nablus

Remarkably, this is NOT the image from the contest … but it’s the exact same view! The caption on this photo, which was posted on the blog of a Fellow with the Kiva organization, reads, “Road to Nablus, north of Ramallah.” I Google’d the route between those two and hoped it would be an easy trot to the precise location, but several hours inspecting the main route yielded nothing. I finally decided to try one of Google’s alternate driving routes and, within a couple minutes, I came across this GPS-marked photo, which clearly shows the same pink/grey building displayed on the right side of the contest image:

Highway 60 - South of VFYW

The VFYW image itself was taken on Highway 60, about 3/4 km up the road from the Tapuach Junction, where Highway 60 meets Highway 505. In the distance of the contest photo is the Palestinian town of Huwara (alternate spelling: Hawara). Obviously there’s no address since this was taken from the road, but the coordinates are approximately 32°7’18.55″N, 35°15’21.53″E. Here’s an overhead view which shows the bend in the road and the terraced hillside on which the olive trees are planted, as well as the view over the white buildings and that distinctive tuft of trees atop the hill in the very center of the photo:

Aerial View - Hawara

Thanks, as always, for hosting this contest!

Thanks for the epic entry. Speaking of which, our grand champion nailed the right location yet again:

See, on Friday I was trying to get to Boston for a college friend’s housewarming (randomly, he’s one of the writers of League of Denial, the NFL/concussion documentary you’ve been discussing). Unfortunately, half of New York decided to book every train, plane and bus three days in advance and I didn’t make it up there. But the upside was a mostly free Saturday to work on the contest. So, off to the Holy Land I went.

And this week’s view comes from … Highway 60 near Huwara in the West Bank? I’m glad the rule against car views isn’t in effect for the contests, because this was a nice challenge. Though I’ve never been there, finding the right country was relatively easy, but tracking down the exact spot took some analysis and a bit of elbow grease. The view looks north by northeast towards the town of Huwara at center left, and the hilltop settlement of Bracha in the distance. For the die hards the exact coordinates are: 32°7’19.08″N, 35°15’21.01″E.

Here’s an image from a few hundred meters farther back on the same road with the viewer’s position marked just out of sight on the left:

VFYW Further Up the Road Marked - Copy

(Archive)