The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #240

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 27 2015 @ 1:00pm


Turns out this week’s contest was one of our most challenging ever, with only around twenty entries submitted, such as:

Oakland. Looking at the Claremont Hotel. A wild-ass guess, of course.

Another reader is seeing things:

Finally, an easy one. Clearly, this is not an actual window view. It’s an early landscape by the British Artist, Stephen Darbishire, in the years prior to his Impressionist period. I couldn’t find the print on his website, but it’s undoubtedly his. Thrilled! I got one!

Another was wondering about Virginia, West Virginia, or England:

There is no snow so I don’t think it’s New England. The gold trim around the window could indicate it’s an elegant old manor house or hotel. The determining factor will be the pine tree and where that particular fir grows. Someone will know as they always do!

Sadly no amateur arborists this week, but this reader gets us to the right continent at least:

I’ve come to admire the people who just send in a gut response almost as much as the ones who spend hours puzzling out a more likely answer. So, in the midst of a bout of insomnia waiting for the sleep aid to kick in, I have spent about five minutes on this.

This picture is obviously Europe. Or, alternately, constructed by Europeans. Though the lack of leaves and presence of evergreens suggest Europe if the picture is a recent one. I suspect that the distinctive forward facing arch of the building in the foreground has a architectural term associated with it and is an excellent clue, though I know few architectural terms myself. My first thought was Germany. I randomly picked Nuremberg but saw no roof lines anything like that. My next thought was Scandinavia, though I quickly abandoned that as much too flat. In pursuit of less-flat terrain I thought perhaps Zurich, then Geneva. In the one random photo of Geneva I looked at there was a building with a similar arch. So, in five minutes flat, I have a guess.

Or farther East?

I’m pretty sure it’s not Vienna.  So I’ll go with Bratislava instead.  However, I’ll leave it to the real keeners to pinpoint the window.

You won’t get that from this reader:

I am definitely wrong; and way way too baked this morning to look further, but that picture sure did remind me of my visit to Wurzburg.

Germany was by far the most popular incorrect guess:

I’m one of your serious readers and not-at-all-serious contest contenders.  I know when I’m out of my league – no guesses at the specific location, and I may be off by a continent or two.  But the style of the buildings, the feeble light, and the swoop of the hills remind me of Baden-Baden. I recall a winter evening in a cheap, charming hotel, on a small ridge overlooking the street leading to the Kurhaus, with a view very much like this one.  Even if this is really Montevideo, the picture brought back a nice memory of a pre-kids sabbatical in Baden-Wurtenberg 20-some years ago.

A former winner is stumped:

Tough contest this week. A generic Germanic city, though it might be Swiss or Czech or … No real good clues like flags, signs or license plates that I can see except those two dome-roofed tennis (?) structures across the way. Searching for them or generic “German clock towers” has gotten me nothing. So I’m just going to say Heidelberg, Germany, because it could be, and Heidelberg does have two clock towers in relative proximity. Not that I can find those tennis (?) courts anywhere across the Neckar River…

Almost had it. This reader half-gets the right country:

Somewhere in Czechoslovakia or possibly Hungary. We’ve been everywhere on this one, from Hungary to Montreal. But we’re convinced this is a public structure like a museum – one of our team spotted seated lion structures on a wrought iron fence – but beyond that we’re stumped.

Only four readers guessed the right city:

I better start attempting guesses even though these are inscrutable to all but well-traveled readers. The shapes in the architecture, as well as the Soviet-era dilapidated buildings, strongly suggest Prague to me. I was there in the ‘90s on a choir tour, just while Prague was on the verge of being assimilated into the McDonald’s form of Western civilization.

A former winner picked Prague as well:

I’m stuck. I keep ending up back in Prague so I’ll guess that, but … WTF are those domes and why can’t I find them?! sldjfoiwejfsalkdfjaskhdgaghd

A winless 17-contest veteran takes the well-earned prize this week:

I didn’t get as much time to work on the puzzle this weekend as I’d have liked. It’s obviously Europe, but that’s about as far as I’ve gotten. I’m going to guess Prague knowing that I could be half a continent off and just be ok with that feeling.

So where was it in Prague exactly? Our Dishness-channeling photographer weighs in:

Very very cool. I’ve been reading The Dish since The Atlantic days and used to send you guys a lot of material when I worked at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, especially during the Iranian revolution-that-wasn’t a few years back – so selecting my view for the contest is really something for me.

Specifics: Taken from the south-facing window of a villa at Dykova 12, Prague, Czech Republic, at the headquarters of Socialbakers, where I work as Chief Editor.

Some more: This is taken from Prague’s Vinohrady neighborhood in a little part adorned with turn-of-the-century villas – some of them are very striking, others, depressingly in disrepair. This view is to the south, overlooking the Vrsovice area. It’s a bit industrial and a bit residential (I live just out view of this photo). The one thing it doesn’t have is a baroque or gothic tower of some sort, which is sort of what people expect from pics of Prague, I think.

I’ve lived in Prague for more than six years, and I still find it strikingly beautiful and exceptionally photogenic. The distinct orange tile roofs, rolling landscapes, and sort of dark, industrial, working-class fabric of the place is great. Charles Bridge is fine, Old Town Square is striking, and Prague Castle is huge. But a lot of the Czech Republic’s beauty lies far from Prague’s main attractions.

As you can sort of make out in the shot, just a few kilometers from the middle of what would be considered “the middle of the city” there is … not much of anything. Villages, fields, forests, and castles – lots of castles. The perfect stomping grounds for a couple of parents with an active little family.

Lastly, as you probably noticed, we didn’t receive an entry from Chini this week. Whether he was stumped or somehow otherwise prevented from playing (stuck in a snowbank?), it breaks the chain of the most consecutive correct guesses that this contest will ever see. We tip our cap.

See everyone Saturday!