The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #207


A reader writes:

I think I may be on a winner here. The photograph is of the Derwent River in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. The tall building across the body of water is the Hobart Casino. My hunch is that the photograph was taken from the Bellerive or Rosny neighbourhoods near Kangaroo Bay, on the other side of the river bank (but I don’t have OCD and won’t be pinpointing the exact location). I once drove around Tasmania with my family when I was a teenager. It’s a beautiful Island.

Another spins the globe:

This looks to be New York looking south along the Hudson. Maybe Stony Point.

And back again:

Yoros Castle, Istanbul, Turkey. I know that’s wrong, but this is somewhere on the Bosphorous, right?

Nope. Maybe it’s in South America:

I so wanted this view to be taken from somewhere around the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas in Rio de Janeiro in the shadow of the Christ the Redeemer statue. It looked so much like what I remembered when I visited there – from the high rise condos, to the rounded, partially bald mountains rising from the water.


I looked for hours for the possible angle, but the pieces just wouldn’t fall into place. I searched the Internet for ages to try an located the viaduct looking bridge on the side of the mountain. I looked for the oddly out of place Germanic looking building on the right hand side. No luck.

So, alas, since I have no better guess I will stick with it even though I am pretty sure it is in vain.

Another throws up his hands:

Dammit, Sullivan. A weekend wasted, yet I am completely stumped this week.

My first reaction to the picture was that the geographic features remind me of Lake Como, though the buildings are all wrong. I doubt it’s in the US, especially after two weeks in a row having American locations, though I can’t find anywhere else in Europe that matches. It somewhat reminds me of Canadian utilitarian architecture, but again, I can’t pinpoint where it might be. So I am going to go with a complete shot in the dark and say that it’s somewhere on Lago Maggiore in Italy.

Please: Consider starting some sort of support group or rehabilitation program for those of us who are completely obsessed with this game, but who don’t have the amazing capacity to find the location every week. (That and maybe marriage counseling for spouses who wonder why their lesser half spends the entire weekend staring at their screens trying to divine the clue that will unlock the solution.)

And that’s if you even want to find it:

This has got to be the saddest lakeside town I’ve ever seen. Seriously, it looks completely desolate and deserted. The architecture is very austere, nothing frilly or happy about it. I see something looking like a pseudo-castle-like structure on the bottom right, probably a some sort of hotel or restaurant. The most interesting feature is the ruined aqueduct on the hill. I searched for aqueducts throughout Europe, found no pics of that one. Above it, there seems to be a hotel, casino or cement factory. Again, uninspiring architecture, reminiscent of countries in the former Eastern block. I sincerely hope this is not one of the Italian lakes, even though I did guess that.

Another gets to the wrong lake in the right country:

Precarious rock ledge, Lake Rigi, Lucerne, Switzerland.

This reader, like most entrants this week, nails the correct lake, castle, and town:

This week’s VFYW contest picture was taken from a window in the stunning Château de Chillon on Lake Geneva in Veytaux, Switzerland. I visited it in February 2010 and took a similar picture from (probably) a different window looking toward the city of Montreux:


And here’s a photo I took from the shore in the contest picture, looking back at the Château, with my best guess on the window:

VFYW contest-207

Indeed, many readers were delighted to revisit the Alps this week:

The photo is taken from the Chateau de Chillon in Veytaux Switzerland, looking North along the shore of Lac Leman toward Monteux.  I haven’t been there since the early spring of 1983, but I recognized it instantly.  I remember heading for Geneva by train from Rome.  I was a few months shy of 19.  It was a gorgeous day, with a full view of the Alps coming through the Rhone Valley.  I happened to be out in the passageway gazing at the Lake and the mountains beyond when we passed the Chateau on the way into Montreux.  I grabbed my backpack and hopped off the train there, and walked back to Veytaux, where the castle is located.  I was very into castles in those days, but had never heard of Chillon.  So I just happened upon one of the most beautiful in the world, and on a day that did it full justice. What a great day.

An impressive visual entry:


Another reader:

Wow. Just saw the VFYW picture for this week, and I knew instantly where it was taken. Just offshore on Lac Leman in the Canton of Vaud, Switzerland. My family relocated to Lausanne, Switzerland, for a few years back in the 1980s and my parents brought every visitor, every out-of-town guest (and of course, us kids) to experience the Chateau. How many times did I look out a window like the one in the picture and try to imagine what it was really like back in the day! I was around 12 years old back then, and seeing that photo was kind of thrilling. Thanks.

But this reader trumps everyone:

I didn’t see this weekend’s contest until Sunday evening, having just come back from an afternoon’s walk to Chateau-de-Chillon! Obviously the view is from the top of the chateau looking towards Montreux.

So that’s a hat trick of on-the-spot windows for me. First was a bit further down Lac Leman at Lausanne in VFYW #8. Second was the amazing coincidence of Double Bay in Sydney in VFYW #33. And then today here is a photo of me (on the right) at the Chateau and the boat going past:

Ferry Chateau de Chillion

It is a great coincidence but to be honest it is now feeling a bit like stalking.


Really fun one this week. I took a tour of ancient and medieval architecture of the Mediterranean and southern Europe before finding the spot. The puzzle was solved with my favorite image search yet: “switzerland lonely highrise,” which yielded this picture as the 4th result:


Another explains the unsightly tower seen above:

The town you can see a kilometer or two away is Montreux, Switzerland. Can I give a shout-out to the Tour D’ivoire, that godawful 25-story apartment block in the middle of downtown Montreux? The town would look a lot prettier without it, but it was the only easily identifiable landmark. Without it I would still be scrolling randomly through thousands of pictures of alpine lake-towns.

But Montreax has a musical history as well:

A couple of nights ago I watched a biography on Queen, and Montreax was where the band lived in tax exile from the insane tax rates of the late 1970s in the UK. With a 75% tax rate on high earners and a further 15% surcharge on investment income, can you blame them?

I grew up in the ’80s and Freddie Mercury was the first person that I knew who died of AIDS. Up to that point in my life, AIDS was a disease that affected other people – people who I did not know. Actors from my parents generation like Rock Hudson or people in faraway places. I was 18, gay, and deeply in the closet when Freddie died. His death scared the hell out of me. To this day, I still can’t listen to “These Days Are The Days Are Our Lives” without crying:

The video is the last time Freddie Mercury appeared on camera and was visibly frail. It was released on the 5th of September in 1991 on Freddie’s 45th birthday. He passed away on the 24th of November, 1991.

I’m not going to go looking for the correct window. Somebody else can waste a beautiful Saturday afternoon doing that. But I do hope you will post a picture of the Freddie Mercury statue that is located in the town of Montreux and overlooks the Lake Geneva:


Another was also inspired by Queen:

I have read VFYW submissions regularly for the past two years, but this is the first time that I felt a personal connection to the location of the contest photo. In the fall of 2011 I rode a bike along Lake Geneva from Lausanne to the Chateau de Chillon, in Veytaux, Switzerland. I stopped to take the photo of the castle, and my guess of which window the contest photo was taken from is circled:


I made the bike ride on September 3, 2011, which happened to be during the annual Montreux Freddie Mercury Festival. Once I realized what was happening, I stopped my bike to dance to the sounds of the tribute bands. It was a beautiful and surreal bike ride along the lake, and the combination of the scenery and festival made it one of the most memorable days of my life. Now when I think of the Chateau de Chillon, the first Queen that pops into my head is not the one that is normally associated with a 12th century castle.

Another rock fan:

What interested me is the giant statue of Freddy Mercury in Montreux, which is just a bad-ass thing to learn exists. I knew of Mercury’s interesting parentage and upbringing, but didn’t realize that he settled in Montreux (home of the famous jazz festival) and recorded the last Queen record near the end of his life in a studio he bought.

Also of rock & roll history interest is the Montreux casino (the big high-rise sits in front of it), which was a popular venue for the jazz festival and in 1971 burned to the ground when some jackass sent up a flare during a Frank Zappa concert. The event was the basis for the Deep Purple song “Smoke on the Water”, a classic rock song best known (and well-parodied by Kids in the Hall) as being one of the first (read: easiest) songs any kid for several decades learned to play when they picked up a guitar.

And the Chateau has a cultural heritage as well:

While I would love to call myself a first-time player, that would be discounting the many times I looked at the VFYW contest and after 5 minutes sighed in despair over the so much more gifted players. But the last couple of days I just happened to be researching movies that concern the summer in 1816 when while staying with her then-boyfriend Percy Shelley and Lord Byron at the Villa Diodati near Lake Geneva, Mary Shelley conceived of the story of Frankenstein.

So I look at the contest this week and go: that’s definitely Old Europe. And it sure looks like a lake. Could it be … ? So I take a drive with Google maps around the perimeter of lake Geneva and happen quite quickly upon some of those buildings and sights in the background. Which leaves me with some triangulation to do in order to determine the window.

How could it have been anywhere else? The picture of course was taken from a window of the Castle Chillon, which inspired Lord Byron’s poem “The Prisoner of Chillon”. I yield to better players to determine exactly which one. I will say that at first it looked like one of the arrow slits near the water surface on the north side. But then there was this triangular black shape just outside the window… maybe a rooftop covered in shadow? So I’ll attach a guess:


What a rush finally recognizing a view. To quote Geena Davis in Thelma and Louise: Now I know what all the fuzz is about!

Another on the castle:

It was made famous to English speakers by George Gordon, Lord Byron, who wrote “The Prisoner of Chillon”. There was a time when people committed huge chunks of poetry to memory. My 96-year-old mother just recited the following verse to me:

Lac Leman lies by Chillon’s walls:
A thousand feet in depth below
Its massy waters meet and flow;

Thanks for the “views” – and the memories.

Another shares their pic from the same exact window:


My wife and I were there in April and she took a photo from the same window. The window is indicated by an arrow in the attached photo. Chillon Castle dates from the 12th Century. It was built to control movement between the north and south of Europe through the upper Rhone valley. The prison in a lower level of the castle was made famous by Lord Byron in his poem “The Prisonier of Chillon”. Byron left his mark on a pilar in the prison.


Another finds the inside view:

The online floor plan of the museum shows no indication that this part of the structure is publicly accessible, but the window would be above #27 “Clerks’ Room”:


Another used this video tour. And here’s Chini:

Great, so I’ve got the flu in June and some Dish viewer’s running around the Alps touring real life Disney castles. Not fair! At least there was some fun to be had in finding the room where the picture was shot. Figuring out the layout of hotels is one thing; doing the same for a 900-year-old castle is a whole different ball of wax.

Speaking of balls:

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And this week’s collage of guesses:


The winning entry this week comes from a husband-and-wife team that has now correctly guessed nine contests in a row:

Our guess is that the contest photograph was taken from the Château de Chillon, a castle in Veytaux, Switzerland. The castle is located on a small island in Lake Geneva, and its address is listed on its website as Avenue de Chillon 21, CH – 1820 Veytaux. (Yes, these days even medieval castles have websites.) The photograph was taken facing north-northwest. We are guessing it was shot from the turret window circled in the photograph below:

Chateau-de-Chillon Window

Normally we would specify which floor, but given the history of the castle (a hundred independent buildings gradually connected over centuries of construction) we’re not sure the ordinary logic holds. (Is a turret a “floor”? Do you count the dungeon?)

Our first impression of the contest photo was that the placid waters and the nature of the shoreline suggested we were looking at a lakefront. The rough surface of the window “frame” suggested an older stone structure such as a castle. Combined with look of the foliage and presence of mountains close to the lakeshore we thought of the Italian Lake District (Lake Garda, Como, etc.) or of Lake Geneva in Switzerland.

Going on Google Earth we searched the Italian Lake District, hoping in particular that we would find that the contest photograph was taken from George Clooney’s island castle in Lake Como. (Perhaps George is a Dishhead). Sadly, the terrain was not a match. Also, the buildings in the contest photograph appeared too modern to fit what we were seeing in that part of Italy.

Moving on to Plan B, Lake Geneva, we quickly found the Château de Chillon, and from there the nearby city of Montreux which has a white high-rise structure matching the one that features prominently in the contest photo. Locating the below photograph taken from the Château de Chillon which is nearly identical to the contest photo clinched our choice.


An impressive guess from an impressive pair of players. From the view’s submitter:

I am very excited to see my picture in this week’s contest. I am travelling around southern Europe for four weeks and Switzerland was my first stop. This picture was taken on a cloudy but beautiful day, looking north-west out of the north-most tower in the Chateau De Chillon, onto Montreux city on the shores of Lake Geneva.


This is technically not one of the four watch towers but the view from the north-most watch tower would probably look the same. The Chateau is an island castle on Lake Geneva and was made famous by Lord Byron’s poem “The Prisoner of Chillon”. It is located a couple of kilometers from Montreux, famous for its Jazz festival and other music links. The song “Smoke on the water” by Deep Purple refers to a fire in the Montreux casino.

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