The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #181


A reader writes:

My first thought was the Caribbean, so I searched for soil types, mountain profiles, street signs, checking who drives on right/left. My first choice was Cuba, and the mountains were similar, but not quite the right profile from the Vinales valley.  I checked other red soil countries around the Caribbean, near mountains, tiny bit of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, right-hand-drive Caribbean islands.  No joy.  Dominican Republic is a possibility, but again, not the right config of mountains. Not even the little blue sign at the far right was a help. Africa? Seems too lush. Indonesia? Not lush enough. So I finally went back to my original guess: Vinales, Cuba.


I can’t spare the time this weekend to give this contest its due, but the view reminds me of certain coffee-growing locales, so I’ll take a wild swing and say this is in Haiti. I’m probably wrong. It’s probably Sumatra or something.


Now that’s a challenging VFYW!  I’ll be gobsmacked if anyone nails the precise location.  Aside from it being tropical, I haven’t much else to guide me, so given it’s prominence in the news lately, I’ll go with somewhere in the Philippines, someplace that was spared the recent wrath of a typhoon.


This reminds me of the view from the outskirts of La Paz.  I found myself there in November 2009, while going to see Cholita wrestling.  The evening culminated in me getting knocked out of my chair when one of the lucha libre fighters threw another into the crowd. Photographic evidence attached:



I think this is in Darjeeling, India. I’ve never been there, but at first glance, the pic reminded me of India. My mom, who is Indian, is always telling me about hill stations, so I googled a few. Am I close?

Not very. Another gets on the right continent:

Definitely Africa. Looks very much like an area of northeast Tanzania I visited a number of years ago called the Usambara Mountains. So I’d guess it’s somewhere in the main city of that area, Lushoto.


This looks like a scene from Mbarara, Uganda.  I could be wrong, but I’m in Mbarara now and it looks like the view from my window!



I believe that the mountain in the right background is Table Mountain which overlooks Cape Town, South Africa. This photo is obviously at elevation, but I can’t put together the distance and population on Google Earth. At first, I thought it was north of Cape Town, but I’m now convinced it is actually southeast. My best guess is in the foothills above Somerset West.


Can’t be South Africa, because it was South Africa last week. Nevertheless, I see a Toyota Yaris, which is common in South Africa. The Yaris appears (hard to say) like it may be right-hand drive, as I can’t make out a steering wheel on the left side. South Africa maybe. The multi-colored paving slabs in the parking lot below us are also typical of South Africa. I even found a company that makes them in Cape Town. The chairs too! They appear to be of a kind made by ISA Group in South Africa – from their web site, I’d say these chairs are “The Snapper” model. Regardless of last week, I’ve got to go with South Africa again. But where in South Africa?

Well, then you’ve got the two dirtbags, er, I mean, backpackers outside the cafe below, the one with the chairs. These two have a decidedly “Motorcycle Diaries” look about them. And if I know my comrades, they would desperately love to see Kruger National Park, but wouldn’t be caught dead in the company of fellow tourists (travelers, I mean, these guys are clearly travelers). So my guess is that the travelers are NEAR South Africa’s prime tourist target – Kruger – but spending as much time as possible in a shanty town so as to maintain their cred. Which leads me to: Kanyamazane, a township near Nelspruit. Can’t find any landmarks to confirm, but it’s a plausible theory. Final answer.


I can’t tell you the exact place, but this feels very much like some of the places I have seen up along the lower boundaries of the Aberdares range or Mount Kenya, although really it could be anywhere in tropical African highlands.  I will take a guess and say it’s Chuka on the eastern side of Mount Kenya.


I saw this photo and it brought me back to the three years I spent living in Guinea in West Africa.  But after looking at the photo a little longer, I don’t think it is Guinea. It’s too small to be a capital city, so must be some upcountry town, but there’s a lake in the distance and possibly a volcano – not things Guinea has. So I’m thinking it might be looking at the lakes in central Africa. I’m going with Bunia, DRC, which seems to be just far enough way from a lake and the mountains on its shore. It looks like it’s taken from a small guesthouse. You can tell by the clean courtyard and the well cared for bushes.  But I don’t know which one.


I give up. There’s pretty much nothing I can identify to indicate a precise city. I’m resigned to this week’s prize going to a flagstone-colourist or garden furniture distributor, or someone doing a doctorate in global windshield sticker formations. My first instinctive thought was Caracas, but the single-story shanty towns aren’t built up enough for the Latin American conurbations. Looks from the fencing like it could be East Africa, but given Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania all drive on the left, I’m inclined to say Rwanda, “the land of 1000 hills”. Given that the hills are all I have to go on, and I can’t see the shape for the clouds, I’m going to punt at Kigali, but am resigned to knowing I can’t find the actual window this week.

Another gets the right country:

This has got to be Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  Eucalyptus trees, tin-roofed huts, the standard school structure on the hill to the left.  The thing that gives me some pause are the motorcycles in the parking lot; there just aren’t as many scooters or cycles as I’ve seen in other developing countries, but there are some.  As for specific location, I’ll go with Mount Entoto, looking south. I submitted a VFYW photo from Addis a few months ago, but I’ve since left, so this brought back some fond memories.


It looks like Addis to me; I was there for a week three years ago when we were adopting two children.  Of course, that’s the only African city I’ve ever been to, and since this looks like Africa, I’m shooting in a dark a bit.


Looks like Addis Ababa to me, more specifically a view from somewhere north of the city, Entoto or Gulele.


Addis? I’m always way wrong.

No one got the right city in Ethiopia. Details from the submitter:

Lemma Hotel, Room 301, Hossanna, Ethiopia, taken 11/15/13

Of the four readers who guessed Addis Ababa, none of them are correct guessers of previous contests. The first two Addis entries posted above are from first-time guessers, while the second two are both from second-time guessers, making a tie-breaker very difficult. But since the second-to-last entry guessed “somewhere north of the city, Entoto or Gulele”, and Hossanna is actually south of Addis, the winner this week goes to the last entry, from the reader who is no longer “always way wrong.”

Update: A last-minute entry from our grand champion, prior to the deadline:

VFYW Hosaena Bird's Eye Marked - Copy

A few months ago a Dish reader mocked your choice of Addis Ababa for VFYW #161 because they thought it was too hard.  I can only imagine how they’re gonna feel about this week’s location. One thing’s for sure though; views are much harder to find when the satellite imagery shows an empty lot instead of the hotel the picture was taken from.

This week’s view comes from Hosaeana, Ethiopia, a small city located approximately 120 miles from Addis Ababa. The view looks south by southwest from the Lemma International Hotel along a heading of 208.42 degrees towards the hills just above Jajura. The exact coordinates are  7°32’40.76″N 37°51’3.00″E, and the picture was likely snapped on the fourth story (third numbered floor) of the hotel:

VFYW Hosaena Balcony Marked - Copy