The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #210


A reader ventures a guess:

Björlanda, Sweden. I believe that is the Fladen fishing store on the pier.

Another looks east:

This looks very much like the area of Hakone, Japan in which I took an excursion in 2009. Those old-time looking ships are part of the tourist industry. I’m pretty sure this is on Lake Ashi, in the Japanese Alps.

Or the Caribbean?

I’m not entirely sure of the building, but I think this is from the second floor of the DeLugo Federal Building on Veterans Drive in Charlotte Amelie, St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. Hassel Island is the island across the water in the foreground, and the building with the tall ship docked in front of it is next to the Legislature of the US Virgin Islands (which is out of the frame to the right). I haven’t been there since 2009, but it was raining then too! Thanks for a great window!

Another goes down under:

This contest is a pain in my ass. I went through chart after chart of tall ship logs (I finally settled on Esplanade_StrahanTasmaniaAustralia/New Zealand and environs). I can’t take it anymore. I finally Googled “Tasmania esplanade” after searching with “quay”, “inlet”, “bay”, “tall ships” and just about every permutation of “port” and “harbor” I could think of … I landed on this painting of Strahan, Tasmania.

That sure as hell looks like the VFYWC, even though I can already tell the dome is missing from the building with the orange roof. I’m out. It’s probably clear on the other side of the world, like the Isle of Man.

Another nails the right island:

I see obvious English signage, a yellow-orange number plate, and double yellow lines, cars parked facing the left side leading me to think it’s somewhere in the UK. All my searches keep pointing back to Falmouth, but I can’t find any place that would match. The surroundings remind me on the gut level more of the area around Edinburgh, but again no dice. Brighton does a Tall Ships festival, but I can’t find any tie.

After looking at thousands of photos, tracing the UK on Google Earth, and going through every company beginning with “Community” I could find, I’m no better off than I was to begin with. I’ve got no more time to give, so I’m registering a frustrated “United Kingdom” as as close as I can get, and I’m even less than certain of that at this point. Grrr. Why do I love this game?!

Because of the drama of near misses? Another reader said the view “screamed” UK because of the “rain and depressed looking tourists”. Another hits the wrong end of the island:

Alrighty, so we have another dismal-ish looking port/harbor/beach view. If I hadn’t seen the little huddle of people bundled up in cold-weather clothing, I would have immediately guessed somewhere warm. However, the vehicles being on the left side of the road, the clearly English sign on the community whatsoever building on the pier, all led me to think that this is somewhere that the British were, or at least had an influence. The numerous blurry masts in the lower left corner suggest a yachting/boating is popular. There’s a sort of castle-y looking building on the waterside to the right, it looks quite old, as in a couple of hundred years or so. The steep slope of the hill at the right leads me to believe that that it probably goes up quite a ways, maybe the hillside buildings comprise a significant part of the landscape we’re not seeing.

All of the above only serves up some rather vague ideas about where this may be. Nonetheless, I’m going to guess somewhere in the Channel Islands or along the British coast.

Another gets the correct (presently non-sovereign) country:

I don’t have any more than this guess: Ullapool, Scotland.

This reader, like most this week, identified the correct city and hotel:


After years of blankly staring at the view from your window photos and wondering how 3778689466_e5f3c5550e_zanyone figured these out, I decided to stop doing anything else until I figured out where this one was. After all, there were plenty of clues: European license plate on a car, UK street markings, and even words on buildings! This would be easy, right?

Um, no … it appears that an insane level of persistence is required to search every possible clue until you get that magical hit. Then you get to obsessively triangulate in on the photo’s precise point of view. But holy cow, this was fun!

The town is Oban, Scotland, and it looks like the photo was taken from a third floor window at the Oban Caledonian Hotel.

Chini chimes in:

Normally it’s a tad disappointing to get an easy view, but between travel for work and Sunday’s World Cup game I’m grateful that this was a near instant find. Plus, it’s a good photo for new players because there’s at least half a dozen different ways to find the location.

Indeed there were:

Northern seaport.
European buildings, license plate.
“Community” on building – aha! Scotland.
Google “Piazza Scotland”: “We are a family friendly pizza/pasta restaurant on a pier in beautiful Oban Bay in Scotland”


Or you could take a more circuitous route:

Google indicated alternative European yellow tags could have been the Netherlands, Cyprus, or Gibraltar (who knew?), but the English word “Community” led me back to the UK.  Web searches for “wharf red metal roof” were totally useless, as was the “Plazen(?)” word by the red-roof building.

Reluctantly, I then circumnavigated the UK, starting near Dover (it was a hunch and not a good one), along the English Channel, then through Ireland, then up to the west coast of Scotland, looking for a bay with a red roof on wharf.  The UK train logos fooled me many times, but the red roof of the Oban North Ferry Terminal finally gave me hope that my efforts had paid off.  There is something really powerful about first seeing the street view confirming this sought-after location.  It’s a really cool feeling.

Below is this week’s OpenHeatMap of everyone’s guesses (zoom in by double-clicking an area of interest, or drag your cursor up and down the slide):

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Most readers got the right window too, but only one nailed it with a GIF – a first for the window contest:


I found it by googling “fish restaurant on dock scotland.”

A long-time lurker:

Aha! I’ve been following this contest for years and have yet to come any where near guessing correctly. And then finally, this morning, it’s somewhere I’ve been! I almost feel guilty (well no, not really).

The red roofed building on the pier is Ee-usk, a perfectly reasonable seafood restaurant that my wife and I walked out of in favor of fish and chips at a pub down the road. This photo was taken from there:

Oban Caledonian from Ee-usk

Another describes the scene:

The location is familiar because I visited Oban once more than twenty years ago. It was the last family holiday with my parents before I went to university. We stayed in a guest house near St Columba’s cathedral which you can seen in the distance behind the building with the red roof. The island straight ahead is Kerrera. It is a pity the weather was so bad when the picture was taken because the views from here are beautiful. If it had been clearer, to the right of Kerrera you would see across Loch Linnhe to another long low island, Lismore (the most boring place I have ever visited), and the mountains on the mainland again beyond it. Behind Kerrera, to the left, you would see the mountains on Mull.

A first-time player:

I am from Glasgow and first took my wife to Scotland to tour the country in 1999 (we met as students in Canada and started dating the previous year). We stayed for a night in Oban and sailed from there to Mull and went on to Iona. The night in Oban was wet (natch). We sat in our rental car on the seafront (possibly a spot in the photo), listening to “Just A Minute” and watching a diver ease his way out into the bay. Thanks for bringing the memory back to the surface.

Many readers have been there:

Marked up contest photo

Not only is this week’s contest easy, but I’ve had pints at the Oban Caledonian Hotel looking at harbour. My wife and I stayed in Oban with our daughter, then almost two years old. It was our daughter’s first time experiencing the sun setting after 10 pm and she couldn’t sleep. So while my wife rested, I packed my daughter in the stroller walked into town, ordered a beer and rocked the stroller back-and-forth while looking out over the water.

I’ve mentioned this Scottish trip to The Dish before. The first time you posted one of my emails was for Contest 157(tbd) when you also used one of our Glen Coe pictures.

Anyway, back to the window. It is the third floor window over the balcony and labeled in the attached. The angle of the view, the details of the stonework around the window, and the newel post on the balcony below led me to the window.  For the room number, I’ll guess 215.

Old picture

Above is a picture I took several years ago from the B&B we stayed at looking back towards the harbour. Unfortunately, it is not a high enough resolution to label the contest window. For anyone trying to figure out that window, I believe it was room 6 of the Alltavona Guest House.

Another reader:

I recognized Oban Harbour immediately. It is one of those places I felt really “at home”. I did the tourist thing to visit Castle Sween, a castle where some of my MacMillin ancestors were sheriffs for the Campbells. I stayed in Oban/Fort William to explore the western coast. It was November, off season and wonderfully full of locals only.

Screenshot-imac- 2014-06-21 at 04.53.05 PM


I’ve only been to Oban once, as a child, and I remember nothing but the harbour being full of dead jellyfish. The city was, like my native Cardiff, the hereditary home of the Marquesses of Bute. The 3rd Marquess, who converted to Catholicism, furnished the Cathedral Church of St Columba in Oban, which can be seen in the window, and was originally clad in corrugated iron (known locally as the “Tin Cathedral”). I think my great-great-grandfather was one of his boy choristers.

Another learned some vocab:

This week’s contest taught me the difference between “piers” and “quays”! Specifically, piers are wooden and quays are stone. And more importantly, when you Google “red buildings on piers in the UK,” you get nothing relevant, while the same search for “quays” just might do the trick.

This husband-and-husband team learned about ships:

Rather than brute-force through a zillion possible cities in Google Earth, my husband chose instead to search for sailing ships, first using reference materials found online to identify the brown and tan vessel in mid-frame as a ketch. “There can’t be that many ketches in the world,” he said, but he ended up viewing hundreds of images before finding this one on

MAYBE (another handy site for window hunters) identifies the ship as Maybe, a 26.13m Bermuda ketch built in 1929. This information led in turn to Maybe’s web site, where an itinerary can be found. I got tangled up in news stories about Maybe’s arrival in Whitehaven such as this one before looking at an earlier stop in Oban, Scotland.

A former winner saw the street markings and was reminded of a “corny old family joke”:

A tourist asks an Irishman what the yellow line on the side of the road means. “Ah, it means you can’t park there at all.” “So what does it mean when there’s a double yellow line?” “That means you can’t park there at all, at all.”

Another reader:

First, as a heavy scotch drinker:


I thought this was going to be an easy one as there seemed to be tons of clues to go on – left-side driving, European license plate style (but also maybe Australian), distinctive seafood restaurant, some visible text (“community”), but it nonetheless took me a lot of hunting to track it down. I don’t know if that’s because it’s a hard contest this week, or if I was just unlucky or not very clever.

I finally managed to track down a photo of the EE-USK restaurant with the Google query “seafood restaurant pier scotland”, which found this photo showing the restaurant’s recognizable red dome:


How did I know to search Scotland? I didn’t. I tried “seafood restaurant pier england” and “seafood restaurant pier australia” and so on until I got lucky. The restaurant looks interesting. Its name is a phonetic spelling of “iasg”, Gaelic for “Fish”, which makes sense as they get their fish directly from the fishing vessels and can serve them fresher than pretty much anywhere else. A few hours from swimming in the sea to being served on a plate, as this YouTube video demonstrates: Ee-usk on “Town with Nicholas Crane”

After locating the correct harbor, tracking the view to the Caledonian Hotel was not hard. By my calculations it could only have been taken from one window.


My calculations are, however, sometimes wrong. Who knows what room number it is – I’ll take a wild guess at 222.

There were so many great entries this week, so see if you can find yours in our collage:


This week’s winner is a three-year, 19-contest veteran from our esteemed list of players who have correctly guessed difficult views in the past without winning:

My first thought was British Columbia/Alaska, but then I noticed the yellow elongated license plate and figured it must be Scotland. I googled “tall ships Scotland”, found a couple companies offering holidays on tall and small ships, and started looking at the ports mentioned. Oban was the first place I checked out, and the red roof on the Ee-usk Seafood Restaurant on the North Pier made it clear that I had found the right location. Looking for the crenelated seawall and the area with the benches got me to the Caledonian Hotel.


So far, so good. I’ve found the correct building any number of times, but I always lose it on the precise window locations – I’ve decided I have some hereditary problem judging sight lines and angles. After looking through every single customer photo of the Caledonia Hotel on Trip Advisor, I’m guessing the photograph was taken from room 204. I’m inserting a picture with a circle around the (I’m desperately hoping) correct window.

That’s exactly correct. From the photo’s submitter:

We’re terrible at playing VFYW, but we thought our current view would make an excellent submission for an upcoming contest.


We’re currently staying in room 204 of the Oban Caledonian Hotel in Oban, Scotland. Since their upcoming vote on separating from Britain has been in the news, we thought it would be timely too.


We snapped the photo upon our arrival this afternoon, being careful not to show any buildings that included “Oban” or other obvious words on them. We’re including Skitched photos from two angles in case someone identifies the window that way vs by room number. We thought it might be extra challenging to get the exact window because it looks out the side of the building rather than the front (which you can see by comparing the two angles.

By the way, this is our very first time on the UK, and we love it so far!


(Archive: Text|Gallery)