A reader writes:

Really? I re-upped my subscription only to be mocked with this utterly ridiculous contest photo? It all looks vaguely Scandinavian, but that is not the point. So all the stuff you write about on Sunday is obviously BS, since it is increasingly clear to me that you are beginning to taunt your readership.

I like that. I wish I had renewed for more that $25.00.

Another describes the scene:

Snow, low mountains, old industrial buildings in the foreground, turn of the 20th century-style housing in the background. This is a hardscrabble industrial town of the kind that you find throughout the northern reaches of Appalachia (just drive any part of I-81 for that experience). Pennsylvania alone has dozens of towns/cities that look like this, and I don’t have the patience to scour every single one on Google Earth. I’m going with my gut based on that mountain in the background: It reminds me of many a drive up to college past Binghamton, NY.


Early on in this contest I often spent an hour or more trying to determine the place. Then all the experts began their triangulation and GPS, etc. I could never keep up. I always try for the right continent and usually get that right. Starting this year, I thought I’d try for Hemisphere. That shouldn’t be too hard. This photo follows a pattern, hills in the background, a river, perhaps a lake, leafless trees and tin roofs. Another feature is the railroad track. A modern building – office-like looking. I was in Quebec last fall, so it’s as good a guess as any.

Right hemisphere. Another:

This looks like central Pennsylvania to me – but I don’t have Doug Chini‘s resolve, so I won’t be following every train track in the state looking for those bumpy roofs. Instead, I’ll just guess Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania – and I’ll look for my entry to appear well above the jump!



Well, I thought this was going to be two easy ones in a row. It looks like a glamorous new lobby has been added to an old New-Englandish warehouse. Some kind of art/cultural destination near a railroad. Dia Beacon? No. MassMOCA? The warehouse has the same kind of scalloped edge! Has to be! Only I can’t for the life of me find this view on the map. But I’ll submit North Adams, Mass, in case the same warehouse builder had other business in the area.


My initial reaction was that with visible dirt on the ground and less-than-impressive mountains in the background, we are looking through a window somewhere near Borat’s native Kazakhstan. And with the dimness and angle of the sunlight, I think we are somewhere near 49.0278° N latitude (give or take). Looking at cities around this latitude, I have choices of Lviv, Ukraine or Erdenet, Mongolia (which no one in the US has ever heard of). I’ll choose Erdenet. If this is right, I’d love to hear why anybody would ever be in Erdenet, Mongolia …

Another lands on the right continent:

This week’s picture lends new meaning to the word “grim.” You have never before used a photograph that portrays cheerlessness to this extent. It looks like a place which the world has left behind. My mind took itself immediately to Russia and the old Soviet Union, with the birch tree and unique narrow-gauge railway tracks (which helped lead to Hitler’s defeat) supporting my mental travel. Those several church steeples could be atop sanctuaries of the Russian Orthodox faith. With a higher resolution screen, it might be possible to determine what the parabolic shape in the middle background of the picture represents. It may be part of a stadium. The abundance of green, non-deciduous trees and the profile of old, worn down mountains have helped me convince myself that this is in the southern part of the Caucusus. Traveling to this place, sitting with a cup of coffee, and watching the place come to life on a sunny day in May, is an intriguing notion.


Gothenburg, Sweden? Because of the swooping-sided stadium barely visible in the background. I think that’s Ullevi stadium, but I can’t figure out the perspective and can’t spend any more time on it. I’d guess the photo is taken looking S-SE toward Ullevi stadium from around the port somewhere. Or not.

Another gets the right country:

The middle-distance houses look very German, especially the ones with pointy roofs. A run-down look, so probably east Germany. The hills look something like the tail-end of the Harz, so I’d go for Thale.


This is a hard one. The birch tree in the front and some vaguely German-looking houses far in the back. Also, Germany is kind of keen on the solar power these days, so the solar batteries on the roof of a warehouse are consistent, and their angle fits the general latitude of northern Germany. Beyond that – no clue. So I am going on a limb here and guess Bremen.

Another nails the right city:

This week’s contest was done in a rush on Tuesday morning because I was out of town for the MLK holiday in a surprisingly cold Miami. At first I was lost on this one, but the green roof, the hills in the distance, and the buildings made me think somewhere in Germany. Then I noticed the stadium in the middle and started looking for stadiums in Germany with that profile. Thanks to some Wikipedia and Google image searching, I settled on the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Stuttgart. From there it was about 20 mins of Google maps searching to find the right building, the BülowBogen Business Center located at Heilbronner Strasse 150. The picture was taken from an office on the back side of the building overlooking the train tracks. Based on the height of the power lines for the train, it was probably taken from the sixth floor in the building’s southern half:

Stuttgart 2

A few other readers also correctly answered the BülowBogen building:

The electrified railway in the foreground looked like Germany to me, as did the yellow-brick stone buildings with (partially) skylighted roofs that look like the typical industrial architecture in so many railroad adjacent industrial areas from the late 19th / early 20th century. However, these indicators were only good for a first guess. What gave it away was the quite distinguishable top of a stadium in the medium background. That and the hills in the far background limited the choice of possible cities. The stadium in the medium background is Mercedes-Benz-Arena, home of German Bundesliga soccer club VfB Stuttgart. The BülowBogen Business Center is the only higher building in the vicinity of the point from where the photo could have been taken (3rd or 4th floor maybe). On Google maps’ satellite view, the black office building on the right is still under construction.

I wanted to attach a screenshot from Google Maps with arrows and circles and stuff as so many do at these contests, but the distance between point of photography and stadium was too big to be informative. Also FYI: I was given a one-year membership as a present last Christmas. Now, this is my first TVFYW contest I participate in. Good luck to you guys in your efforts!

Thank you! As far as the winner this week, the following reader guessed the closest floor of the BülowBogen building, has participated in the highest number of previous contests among this week’s finalists, and produced the most detailed entry:


The view is of Stuttgart, Germany. You can see the stadium vaguely in the background. It’s near the Mercedes-Benz factory (which the stadium is named after). I thought it was weird to see a professional sports stadium without any large buildings or skyscrapers around, and that was a tip that this isn’t a view of an American city. So what sort of small towns have professional sports stadiums? Numerous cities in Europe. The shed like structures are actually some sort of music venue and restaurant space called the Wagenhallen – photos of it here.

The picture itself was taken from the BulowBogen Business Center at 150 Heilbronner Strasse. I believe the room that the photo was taken from is on the fourth floor. I’ve attached a photo of the building with an arrow pointing to my best guess at the actual window your picture was taken from:

Actual window

From the submitter:

I’ve sent similar shots from my workplace before, but I particularly like this one, with the early-morning sky and the lighted interior of the nearby vocational school. Location: Stuttgart, Germany, taken from the second floor of the Bülowbogen office building at Heilbronner Strasse 150. Time: 8:45 am, Jan. 9, 2014. Description: Directly adjacent to the railroad tracks on the right is a recently built vocational school. To the left is a late-nineteenth century railroad car depot which is now being used for artist ateliers and various cultural events. In the far distance along the Neckar River (not visible) is the Mercedes-Benz Arena, where the local Bundesliga team plays. The area in the middle distance will be undergoing a radical transformation in the next several years because this belongs to the development site of Stuttgart 21, a controversial and very expensive project in which the current above-ground railway station will be transformed into an underground station, freeing up the immense area taken up now by tracks for new development close to the city center.