The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #209


A reader writes:

At first glance, I thought I was looking at an airport. The wide concrete slabs and numerous arrows triggered that impression in my brain. Of course when it registered that there were benches lining the edges, I realized how wrong I was!

The wide man-made beach leading to what looks like a very unfriendly lagoon is clearly not South American, although it does conjure up the vision of a curiously deserted section of Ipanema. Most interesting are what looks like windmills on the upper left corner. The top of the hill has what looks like some sort of ruin, but probably isn’t. I’m not sure what makes me think Scandinavian, except that it is an unusually pristine beach and surroundings. However, I couldn’t find a pic resembling this image online. Again, this feels like a sad little place, the overcast skies darkening the lagoon water, with rather stark architecture. Somewhere in Scandinavia, Norway or Sweden, Copenhagen.

Another reader senses “a very Russian feeling” from the view. Another gets topical:

I do not have the time to follow through on my immediate instincts, which are “World Cup,” and “Brazil.” When I start looking at beaches in Brazil, I find some that have very similar light fixtures, so I think I am in the right country. But there are a lot of beaches! I’m taking a guess to say it is a beach in the vicinity of Recife, Brazil.

Another is clearly looking forward to summer:

Congratulations. Wherever this is, they have created the perfect beach experience for people who hate both sand and water.

Another hits the States:

This week’s view is really a puzzler. At first glance I thought there were plenty of clues to go on: the beach next to a densely-packed urban landscape, the concrete promenade, the bike path. There are odd buildings along the shore, and … is that a set of stairs going down to a parking garage? I can’t tell. There aren’t any palm trees, which suggests a temperate climate. I’ve been chasing up all these clues obsessively and haven’t found anything that seems remotely close. I’m certain it’s not Chicago, but I’m going with that anyway. So frustrating!

Even a correct guesser notes:

Wow, this one was hard.

Indeed. There were only 20 readers who even hazarded a guess this week. One of them frowns:

I would waste the day investigating this location but I am disqualifying it because it shows no part of the window frame and contains an animal (dog). I can do something productive instead.

True, we never post frameless views for our daily VFYW feature, but due to the lack of good candidates for the contest, we occasionally use them here.  And animals are only disqualifying when they are the central focus of the view, not incidental background. The closest incorrect entry:

Nice beach. No one swimming, not even a dog, despite the green flags. Must be the North Sea. I say it’s Dunkirk, France.

Another nails the right country and city:

My guess for this week is a city on the northern coast of Spain, specifically Gijon, Spain. The dense city, the streetlight fixtures, and the beautiful beach were my clues. There are a number of half-moon beaches in the area, and I suspect this photo was taken from the aquarium or some restaurant in the area looking east.

A previous winner nails the building too. Here’s his breakdown:

Screen Shot with window highlighted

It took a while to figure this contest out because the items in the photo pulled me in different directions. The buildings and grey concrete sidewalks next to a beach with calm waters made me think it is an Eastern European location, perhaps on the Black Sea. The Kompan pirate playground, the wind, and the people dressed in long sleeved clothing made me think western or northern Europe. But the palm trees are too tall for northern Europe.

To confuse things further, I initially thought the statute on the hill opposite was a Greek ruin. After realizing the object was too large for that to be true, I started to try random bits of the European coastline. Then after stumbling across similar looking lamp posts in San Sebastián and Biarritz in North Spain, I realized the contest window must be nearby.

Soon enough, I discovered that Gijón, Spain had the same lamp posts as in the picture and I arrived at Calle Mariano Pola, 2, 33212 Gijón, Asturias, Spain. Based on this photo, I think the contest picture was taken from this two-bedroom vacation apartment for rent. For the exact window within the apartment, I highlighted it in the attached screenshot. The sculpture in the distance turns out to be Eulogy to the Horizon by Eduardo Chillida.

Below is a visual glimpse of all of the entries (zoom in by double-clicking an area of interest, or drag your cursor up and down the slide):

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From a reader in country:

Well, no special story or anything other than I have walked along that waterfront, as it’s fairly well known here in Spain. Only once have I been up to Gijón (pronounced in English as “hee-hone”), but I instantly recognized it, so I imagine you will have quite a few correct guesses this week. Let me recommend Asturias and the northern parts of Spain in general to so many of the readers who may have an image of the country that completely forgets the very verdant North. It’s a completely different style that is absolutely lovely.

Anyway, after knowing where it was from memory, I just used Google Maps to confirm it was the same place I was thinking of and found a nice street view photo sphere of the area:


And looking around I found a pleasant piece of architecture that I’m pretty sure is the building in question:


​Now that I noticed that the rules were bent a bit this week to not show the actual window, I’m going to guess that the photo is from the top balcony of the building at Calle de Mariano Pola, number 2.

A veteran player:

I got lucky looking at beaches with roof structures. I found a TripAdvisor shot, showing that striking wall design at the beach steps. That led to Google Map view, excerpted below, at a sunnier and more populated moment:


Below is a photo from an apartment for rent, described as Calle Mariano Pola, 2, 3:


I am not sure if this is the very apartment, but it seems awfully close! Perhaps the VFYW was taken early in the day; beach looks very empty, and with its lack of shadows, can’t tell what time it was. But I am thrilled to have found it, anyhow!

Another reader:

Playa de Poniente, white building shaped like a ship (there are three in a row; it’s the one nearest an old chimney), fourth floor. For the window, see the attached image:


This one was really hard. I came close to giving up, then my sister told me: “looks like Spain” (I was sure it was a northern country somewhere in Europe). So I googled “playa artificial” (it is definitely an artificial beach), and after a hundred photos of Japanese beaches-under-a-dome there it was.


Six in a row!  A new record for my wife and me.  And hard-earned, too, as this was easily the contest I’ve had to spend the most time on over the last month and a half.

But why, when there’s so much to look at?  I really thought a European beach would give itself up rather quickly, but this tiny beach near the Gijon marina hid itself as well as any place can on the internet these days.  Our first instinct was actually Scandinavia, and the lack of wave activity had us thinking it was perhaps a lake beach.  So a lot of wrong roads turned down this week, and had it not been for our streak I may have given up.  Eventually some combination of search terms yielded a travel site about Spanish beaches, and while Gijon wasn’t featured there were certain similarities in the plazas and access ramps that made me think Spain was the way to go.  That also made me aware that all those dark-haired people in the picture probably aren’t milling about a beach in Scandinavia.

And so I did what I’ve done before on obvious coastline scenes — just follow the damn coast of spain, stopping at every spot where sandy beaches intersected with a densely-populated area.  Plenty of false positives, but with so much detail in the view I was able to move on from each rather quickly.

There are three parallel ugly apartment buildings (I presume) lining that plaza, and the view is taken from the far-right one that sorta looks like a cruise ship.  3rd floor, let’s say.


The view is from Calle de Mariano Pola, 2, Gijón, Spain. Third floor balcony, at the northeastern corner. This is a private building, one of three condo buildings that are shaped like a ship, so I can’t even venture a guess as to the exact address. Attached I can’t believe I found this, but I’ve circled what I think is the window.


I’m never right on my first guess with these, but I looked at the photo and said, wait, I’ve been there. It’s Gijón! I had a summer of fun debauchery as an exchange student in a small town in northwestern Spain, almost 15 years ago. My host brother and I took the bus up to Gijón for a couple of days on the beach. Lovely. That’s the Playa de Poniente, one of Gijón’s several beautiful crescent beaches.

Yes, I questioned myself for a few minutes, because it could’ve also been San Sebastián with its famous crescent-shaped Playa de la Concha, and I haven’t been to either in 15 years and maybe I was wrong. The tip-off was the big gray building, when I re-reviewed the photo. It had to be the Talaso Poniente.

I assume you’ll get lots of submissions because it’s a rather unique building. Takes all the fun out of things that the crazy savants can always turn these out easily. Oh, well.

Our favorite spousal team rocks their 11th contest in a row:

Our guess is that the contest photograph was taken in Gijón, Spain. The view is of Poniente Beach and the surrounding area, and was taken facing northeast from the building and fourth-floor window shown in the photograph below:


We were out of town this weekend and did not expect we would be able to get to the VFYW contest, but we did a whirlwind search this evening (Monday) and got it done. Once our toddler was in bed my wife hopped on Google and called out possibilities while I was on Google Earth checking out her suggestions. Narrowing this one down was difficult, but my wife (correctly) suspected northern Spain. The contest photo featured several construction cranes, so when she spied a New York Times article that mentioned new construction in Gijón she sent me there to check.

Not that Chini is feeling the heat:

VFYW Gijon Overhead Marked - Copy

Unlike the memories that last week’s visit to the Musee Rodin brought back for me, this week … oh who am I kidding #distractedbyworldcup. The basics then: This week’s view comes from Gijon, Spain and looks east-north-east along a heading of 70.12 degrees from a 3rd floor window in the Linea Rural apartments located at 2 Calle de Mariano Pola.

VFYW Gijon Actual Window Marked - Copy

This week’s winner was the longest-playing veteran with a near-miss guess (by one floor):

A third floor apartment in this block, which looks like the rear end of a liner, on Calle de Mariano Pola in Gijon, in northern Spain.

VFYW 140614

It was the bike path that made me think Spain, the calm water that made me think bay, and the crane at rest suggested a northern facing coast.

Congrats! From the view’s submitter:

The photo was taken from the second (European) floor of the building at Poniente Gijón, Spain this week. The name means “where the sun sets.”

(Archive: Text|Gallery)