The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #223


A reader throws up his hands:

We must congratulate you on lulling us in to a false sense of security. This is quite possibly the hardest “view” you’ve ever posted. Our best guess is my dad’s: Williams County, North Dakota. We base this on the mountains, and the look of the buildings, which seem to resemble an industrial mining or fracking operation.

Next time, perhaps something between “nondescript mountain range with weird building” and “stadium with identifiable flag”? Thank you as always for a fun contest!

Another anticipated a hard one after a few weeks of easy contests:

Well, we knew this was coming, didn’t we? We have what appear to be prefabricated buildings of recent vintage, on a rocky, barren, and otherwise undeveloped landscape, with snowy mountains off in the distance. Somewhere in the Arctic, during the summer. A woman and child walk in the foreground – Inuit, perhaps? So let’s say Alaska, somewhere along the North Slope, and for sake of specificity call it Barrow, even thought I cannot pin down these buildings on maps of the town.

Another gets fictional:

Taken from the office of Gustavo Fring at the Los Pollos Hermanos Compound, just outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Another heads much farther south:

After spending a disconcertingly long time on Google Maps in Satellite View, I’m going to go with Potosí, Bolivia. It actually might be any other city in the Bolivian Altiplano, but I’m tired of satellite view and Potosí looks about the right amount of brown. Plus, it’s an important mining city, and the edge of that pit looks like a mine.

But for all I know, that’s a tar-sands operation in Alberta and I’ve just spent two hours in the wrong hemisphere. This might be the most challenging contest you all have done! I opened the photo today and said, “Ugh.”

Wrong hemisphere. Another gets the wrong planet:

Mars? There was a story on This American Life / Love + Radio last week about a Mars station to host 4 humans is 2023. This may be the terrestrial training ground. Looking in the arid, iron rich soils of greater Mongolia I worked my way to some disputed lands between China, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan. Is this an homage to Chini or a nose-thumbing after two easy weeks? I’m not sure what Aksai Chin is, but it showed up on my Google map, and one can only assume the people who live there would be the Chini. There don’t appear to be any roofs in the area, but just by name association alone, I hope this is close, and I hope Doug found it.

To the right country:

To me the picture said Northern Canada, or possibly Alaska. But I’m guessing it wouldn’t be the US three weeks in a row. So after some half-hearted googling, I guess somewhere in Yukon, Northwest Territories, Canada. A vague guess, because it was a gorgeous weekend and I went apple picking on Saturday and then simply had to make pies and crisp on Sunday. I’d send you one, but Internet.

Another reader nails the province and town:

I got lucky on this one. I zoomed in to see the people walking down the dirt road, and thought they looked Inuit. I then thought of Nuuk, Greenland, which vfywc_223is at least pretty small and unique. When it wasn’t Nuuk, I looked at the Chevy van in the photo thought “oh, maybe it’s Alaska” – in which case, game over, because Alaska is huge and has dozens of tiny little settlements. But then I remembered Nunavut, Canada’s newest territory. I hopped on over to Iqaluit, and lo and behold, there was the crazy modular spaceship form of the high school. (By the way, kudos for making sure the flag was illegible.)

Another wasn’t impressed with our promise to make this week more difficult:

I haven’t submitted to the contest in some time.  But I was excited when you said this week would be harder than than recent contests, so I thought I’d go for the challenge.  Some challenge. The landscape was unmistakably Arctic.  Nunavut was my first guess. I was in Iqualit, Nunavut before my coffee was cool enough to drink.

Reality TV helped out this reader:

Got it in a flash thanks to the wonderful BBC program “A Cabbie Abroad”.  In it, London cab driver Mason McQueen visits remote places – Mumbai, Bangkok, Fiji and Iqaluit, to ply his trade:

Whilst the set up is about learning to be able to drive there, the really interesting part is how he gets to appreciate the plight of the locals.  In the case of Iqaluit it was the dispossession of the land of the indigenous people and the poverty, health and alcohol problems in the community.  He approaches it with an open mind and a real honesty and humanity.

A funny footnote though. In the program he has to master the house numbering system of Iqaluit, where there is one set of house numbers for the whole town, and by the end he has it mastered.

I actually contacted Mason on Twitter about the contest … and his guess was Colorado!

One reader has a fantastic visual walkthrough to nail the right apartment building:

Not a single legible sign. No automobile license plates. No distinctively styled lampposts or street signs. Now we’re talking!

First, I identified the key landmarks in the window’s view:


Then I located those landmarks in the aerial image of Iqaluit:


Here’s an alternative view of the apartment tower, seen from the east (rather than from the north):


Given the line of sight, our window must be in the westernmost of 3 buildings on Qulliq Court, overlooking the Arctic College head office. (The qulliq, sometimes translated as kudlik, is a type of oil lamp used by the original Inuit inhabitants of Baffin Island.) Thanks to Street View, this building can be identified as 508 Qulliq Court.


But which window? Given how much of the Arctic College’s roof that is visible in the VFYW, I believe that the photographer was on the second floor rather than the ground floor (even though the ground floor is itself higher than the roof). We also know that the photographer’s window opens. I surmise that it is one of the flanks of the building’s bay windows. Finally, given the angles from the landmarks to the window, I believe that the picture was taken from the westernmost bay of 508 Qulliq Court:


Based on what I’ve read today, I believe that 508 Qulliq Court and its neighbors are housing belonging to Nunavut Arctic College. If I’ve identified the correct bay window, the VFYW picture was taken from Unit No. 27.

Another notes:

I’m actually rather impressed that there’s Google Street View for this city, given that it’s accessible only by plane and is the smallest and most remote of the Canadian provincial/territorial capitals.  And this was the first time that Street View wasn’t actually a lot of help since the snow banks are so high that it’s hard to get a good view in any direction.

The Street View story is pretty cool, as this reader discovered:

Having been to Alaska for work a few times, my gut reaction was somewhere in the North American Arctic. The signs are:

  • A lack of any foliage suggesting it gets very snowy and cold.
  • Large metal buildings which are fast to construct during summer, cheap to transport their raw materials, and big enough for the community to spend all winter inside
  • Lots of chimneys on roofs, curved over to prevent snow falling in.

That didn’t give me much to go on but searching for “Arctic Towns in Canada” I got lucky and came across a video by Christopher Kalluk – who took Google Street View images by walking around town carrying something like R2D2 on his back:

From that video I quickly found the three buildings shown, and the apartment complex.

Finding that was great fun.. even better was finding this Google Street View image of Christopher on a sled being pulled by dogs. Amazing!

Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 11.40.03 AM

Don’t forget the donuts:

To show just how thoroughly the Canadians have conquered the Arctic, consider this local establishment (notice the slogan written in Inuktitut syllabics):


As always, a reader informs us about the town:

Founded in 1942 as an American air base, accessible mainly by air (by boat in the summer, and dogsled and snowmobile in the winter), Iqaluit grew in the 1950s due to a NORAD radar station project. In 1958, there was a proposed plan to build the city under a giant concrete dome.  Seriously!  It was to be artificially lit, heated to -6°C (21°F) in the winter, and powered by nuclear energy. Thankfully the dome did not come to pass (Iqaluit is apparently a great place to see the Northern Lights), although it would have made for an excellent reality show today.

Notable Iqaluit current events include the opening of the first beer and wine store in 38 years (an attempt to quell the alcoholism made worse by prohibition), the extinguishing of a 4 month long town dump fire, and the ouster by the city council of the chief administrative officer. These incidents are supposedly unrelated.

Another reader connects the view to last week’s big story:

Iqaluit is an interesting choice just a week after Scotland’s vote for independence. Nunavut is in its 15th year of territorial quasi-self rule.  The split from the Northwest Territories was a major victory for Native sovereignty and self-government, even though it is still governed by Canada.  That fight continues in Canada and around the world. Here in the US, we have Native Hawaiians toying with taking the illegal overthrow of its monarchy to the UN, Akwesasne Mohawk insists it is sovereign territory straddling the US-Canada border (they issue their own passports), and the Navajo Nation is stretching its legs with the idea of becoming a “state” for Medicaid and Medicare purposes.

A previous winner provides a soundtrack:

This VFYW contest has a tenuous connection to the Dish’s new and sporadic cover song contest.  The White Stripes played Iqaluit (pop. 6,699) on there final tour in 2007.  The tour was a long trek across Canada.  Their movie about the adventure Under Great White Northern Lights contained footage of the Iqaluit stop and the accompanying album’s cover is a doctored picture of Jack and Meg walking near the shore in Iqaluit (about here; the old location for a Hudson Bay Company post).  The set list for their show at Iqaluit’s Arctic Winter Games Arena included their covers of Dolly Parton’s Jolene, Blind Willie Johnson’s John the Revelator, and Son House’s Death Letteramong others.  Although not a cover, I prefer Gillian Welch’s retort Time (the Revelator).

Another regular reader offers a dissent:

Could you please stop quoting from Chini’s responses every week? It’s like the guy in class who always raises his hand. Nobody wants to hear from him every time.

Perhaps, but plenty of other readers look forward to his little blockquote column every week, as do we:

VFYW Iqaluit Actual Window Marked - Copy

Bare dirt, tiny windows, thin grass; yep, we’re hell and gone from the equator. At first blush that might seem to make this one crazy hard but it’s actually helpful; there simply aren’t that many people living at these latitudes. Not to mention the dead giveaway at center left; once you saw it, this one became an insta-find (for myself and presumably quite a few others). Chini kuviasungitok!

This week’s view comes from Iqaluit, the capital of Canada’s Nunavut province. The picture was taken from a second floor window in residence building #508 on the campus of Nunavut Arctic College and looks almost due south along a heading of 170.21 degrees.

Here’s the location of two Iqaluit views that the Dish featured back in 2008/2010 alongside this week’s shot:

VFYW Iqaluit Other VFYWs 2 - Copy

And here’s this week’s winner, who also gives us a colorful architecture tour:

I’m not a world traveller, so each week I hope for a familiar view of Canada or the US. This time I identified the scene immediately: Iqaluit, capital of the territory of Nunavut, Canada. I was there a year and a half ago; you actually published my view from my sister-in-law’s window in the suburb of Apex.

The giveaway is the two-tone blue Inuksuk High School, with its distinctive porthole windows and fibreglass panels, pictured here, behind an arch of bowhead whale bones:

Inuksuk HS

Behind it is the brown and tan Frobisher Inn. Anyone who has visited the city (population 7250) will recognize these landmarks. The architecture of Iqaluit can be quite striking, such as Nakasuk Elementary School, which could pass as a lunar research station:


And the igloo-shaped St. Jude’s Anglican Cathedral:


It’s also very colourful, which helps break up the white of winter. Bold colours are popular for residential buildings:


And the bright yellow of the Iqaluit Airport is easily spotted from a distance:


I’m pretty confident the photo was taken from an apartment in the building I’ve indicated on the map below, based on the angle of the window opening to the hotel and high school, and the angle of the roof hip of the Nunavut Arctic College in the foreground.


I’m less certain about the exact window, but I believe it’s the left window of the second bay window unit from the left, on the southwest side of the building, on the second story. I chose this one because the perspective of the view appears to correspond roughly to the middle of the building, and since I assume the hinge of this swinging window would be on the wall side of the frame, not the side protruding from the building:


We confirmed the above image with the reader who submitted this week’s view:

That’s absolutely the window! Facing out the right. I opened the right side of the bay window to get the shot. The Dish sleuths do it again.

The view is from an apartment (Apartment Q-26, QI Complex) that was made available to short term researchers associated with the Arctic College, part of which is seen in the foreground with the pink roof. The distinctive blue building with the portholes is the Inuksuk High School. The taller brown building beyond is a hotel with cafe and theatre, the tallest building in Nunavut and part of the Astro Hill complex.

Thanks to all for the many great entries this week. Many of them come to you in this collage:


(Archive: Text|Gallery)

The View From Your Window Contest


You have until noon on Tuesday to guess it. City and/or state first, then country. Please put the location in the subject heading, along with any description within the email. If no one guesses the exact location, proximity counts.  Be sure to email entries to Winner gets a free The View From Your Window book or two free gift subscriptions to the Dish. Have at it.

Also, check out this extra-credit guess for last week’s contest, in which a reader didn’t just ID the city and hotel, but dug even deeper to determine the day, time and exact moment of the live baseball game being played in the background:


Turns out full replays of all minor league games are on The view photo was taken during the Indianapolis Indians’ June 17th game against the Gwinnett Braves, in the bottom of the 1st inning. Indians player Chris Dickerson had just been hit by a pitch. Two Indianapolis coaches and a trainer are escorting him down the 1st base line to check on his injuries. In the view photo, Dickerson and the trainer are just behind the flag pole, but the two coaches (long white pants) are VFYWC-222-Ballgameclearly visible. The above picture is taken from the game video at 19m:13s, (a few seconds after the view photo) when the coaches, trainer (in black) and Dickerson arrive at first base. Notice the shadows and position of first basemen and umpire are exactly as in the view. Sure enough in the background is the window of the JW Marriott  our photographer of the view is no doubt in the window in the upper right. The video cameraman is also visible in the view photo  he is in red, behind 1st base in the visitors dugout. My best guess is that the view photo was taken at video mark 19m:05s. I’ll bet the video is trimmed to start at the nominal game time of 7:05. Aligning the video time with that start time, the view was taken at 7:24:05 pm. Cool.

After checking the original image’s EXIF data, our reader was within seconds of the exact time the photo was taken. Incredible.

Browse all our previous window view contests here.

The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #222


A reader writes:

Camden Yards, Baltimore, MD. If I’m right, my self-esteem will be temporarily bolstered.

Camden Yards actually wasn’t too far off. Another reader:

Looks like Harbor Yard, home of the Bridgeport Bluefish in Bridgeport, CT.  It’s a great place to watch a ball game.  Even if it’s wrong, it’s good to support the ‘fish.

Bridgeport was the most popular incorrect guess this week. Another reader rightly gets us to the Midwest:

I’m gonna say this is the Akron Aeros’ ballpark in Akron, Ohio, from a skybox in the left field area. I’ve been to a couple of Aeros games, which is a big deal because 1) I live 9 hours’ drive away; 2) the first time I went, a visiting player gave me his bat after the game; and 3) the second time I went, there was an earthquake in Akron. Yes, in Akron. The next night, in Toledo, Ohio, a tornado zipped through the parking lot of my hotel. (I think Ohio was trying to tell me something.)

Another throws up his hands:

I give up! I have spent far too much time on your addictive contest. Thought it might be Scottsdale Stadium in Scottsdale, AZ. People can sit on the grass and watch there. Logo might be from Seattle team. Might also be Ameritrade Stadium in Omaha where College World Series is held. Or old Rosenblatt Stadium there. What stymies me is that long covered structure through which something is transported to top of the building like a grain elevator. That might make it in Minneapolis or St Paul. Found one picture of a tobacco transporter in the south but wasn’t quite right landscape.

Another was less discouraged:

I didn’t think it was possible for me to guess two windows in a row correctly. Okay, technically I’m not sure if last week’s window was the exact window, but I got the right building and that’s a win. But two easy windows in a row?  Do you want all your readers to get out and enjoy the fall weather instead of hacking away for hours, yelling at the computer, sweating it because they can’t find anything in the picture??  Well, I for one, thank you.

With more than 500 entries, this contest was even more popular than last week’s. Another reader savors the correct city:

I love the smell of napalm in the morning – it smells like … Victory Field in Indianapolis!

An expert is even more excited:

I was sooo excited when I saw the contest photo. A minor league baseball stadium?? That’s my niche! I’ve visited dozens of stadiums at all professional levels. I take trips every summer to see new cities and new teams, taking extensive notes about the games I see: the food, the architecture, the people, the uniforms. It is a great way to see the country, as it gives me excuses to go to places I wouldn’t otherwise have reason to visit. I’ve seen baseball in Buffalo, Chattanooga, Rancho Cucamonga, and everywhere in between. I saw this photo and thought this week will be tailor made for me. I’ll pick up on some nuance of the shape of the tier, or the location of the lawn, and I’ll be so proud of my baseball detective skills. I will be the only winner!

That feeling lasted a few seconds, until I saw the flag. Oh. Indianapolis. Everyone is going to get this one. Fuck. You’re a tease.

Another explains:

th2014 has been a year of highs and lows for me on the VFYW contest.  So close on some, even joining the scrum on a few correct windows; and so far on others (identifying the location by yellow lichen?  Seriously?) So imagine my happiness at seeing this VFYW contest.  A baseball stadium!  I’m a baseball fan, I’ve been to lots of stadiums, including minor league stadiums, which this clearly is.  How hard can this be?  Wait a minute … I’ve never been to this stadium …

After plenty of searches for urban baseball stadiums near power plants and finding nothing, I switched tactics.  Not quite as obscure as yellow lichen, I found the flag.  The flag of the city of Indianapolis.

Based on the level of the field and the position of the side walk pillar in the contest photo, I’d say the photo was taken at the JW Marriott Indianapolis.  The photo is from the second floor convention area, from the prefunction area (so-called by the hotel’s website):


Indeed, it was the pre-function area. Another notes:

So is “Pre-function” the charming Midwestern attempt at classing up “Reception” or something? Speaking of those wholesome Indianans, in this particular VFYW search I came across this little gem of a TripAdvisor review: “Hospitality service & staff were alarmingly friendly and troublingly attentive. Or maybe as a Bostonian I’m just not used to people being nice.”

Another reader reconstructed the Indianapolis city flag in an image editor, then reverse-image searched his way to success. Here’s somebody looking to make up for last week:

After misreading “Zane’s” as “Zone’s” and thus becoming an ignominious member of the 2.1% who didn’t get the window last week, I was determined not to miss what at first glance looks to be a slam dunk: somewhere in a decent sized US city with a minor league (most likely AAA) baseball park. There’s even a flag RIGHT THERE that should be a pretty big clue as to location. And it is: the blue field with a white cross, overlaid with a white star in a red circle at the center is the flag of the city of Indianapolis, Indiana. That was surprisingly difficult to discover (I took a few detours through the county and municipal flags of Texas first, many of which feature a “lone” star) but I imagine you have no shortage of people from Indy that will recognize it on sight, in addition to the legions of highly competent Google sleuths that regularly populate these contests.

The view is from a building just off left-center field at Victory Field, home of the Indianapolis Indians, which claims to be “The Best Minor League Ballpark in America” (a claim with which, as a proud resident of Durham, NC, I am inclined to disagree.) Specifically, somewhere in the JW Marriott across Maryland Street, among the floor-to-ceiling windows (you can see the American flag from the ballpark reflected in the attached screen grab.) Based on the interactive floor plan on the hotel’s website, this window appears to be in the “Prefunction” area of the third floor, just outside the JW Grand Ballroom.

In another entry, we learn that “the Indianapolis Indians are a Pittsburgh Pirates AAA affiliate that somehow manages not to use a racist cartoon Indian on their hats (Cleveland take note).” For more on that subject, check out the Dish thread “Do Mascots Need Modernizing?” Another entry:

The contest photograph is packed with clues. I relied on minor league baseball stadiums (too small for major league, too big for little league or most universities) and a handy website listing all minor league stadiums. I started with those in Northern industrial states and it did not take long. Google Street views on the north side of Victory Field immediately included all the foreground clues in the contest photograph (red Indian teepee, street light post with no parking sign, brick perimeter fence column, trees, flag poles, memorial plague, etc.). The contest window had to be one of those directly across Maryland Street on the south face of the Marriott complex:


Many readers focused on another key element:

This started with a Google search for “minor league baseball stadium near coal power plant”, which found a nearly identical view:


A native weighs in:

View From Your Window Contest # 2014-09-14 at 10.32.37 PM

I knew this picture instantly (even faster than the view from Monticello earlier this year). In the background is the former Indianapolis Power and Light (now Citizens Thermal Energy) power plant. Interestingly, the long diagonal structure used to haul coal to the boilers, but this facility was switched to natural gas a few years ago so the conveyer system is now obsolete. If you look at a map, you’ll notice a lot of railroad tracks behind Victory Field. I grew up just south of Indianapolis, and I spent a lot of time trainspotting at that location. I live in Berkeley, CA now; thanks for bringing back some really fond memories. I was in Indianapolis at exactly this time last year for the Monon Railroad Historical-Technical Society convention, and stayed a couple of blocks away at the hotel in Union Station. That was the first time I’d seen the new blue Marriott tower from which this picture was taken. The blue glass accounts for the blue hue of the picture.

Another has a recommendation:

No useful trivia about the team or stadium, but I will say that the Indy 500 is a cultural event worth attending at least once before you die. Not for the race but for all the stuff that is associated with it. You have no idea how noisy a race is unless you are in the stands…

You have to appreciate the concision of this entry:


1. U.S. ballpark.
2. Industrial city.
3. The flag is not a state flag.
4. It is not a major league ballpark (Google elimination of each one).
5. Aha! Maybe it’s a city flag.
6. Indianapolis.
7. Victory Field.
8. Marriott.

Another native:

I grew up in Indianapolis, and spent a number of cheap dates in high school and college going to see the Indianapolis Indians, a pretty good  AAA baseball team. Back then, the Indians played in Bush Stadium, a charming old park built in 1931 and used to film the underrated Eight Men Out, where a couple of my buddies appear as extras in some crowd scenes.

A Pink Floyd connection:

Pink Floyd - AnimalsFunny Story: I took my 3 daughters to a game there earlier this year. When my oldest (4 years old) saw the power plant to the south (which you can see in the picture) she asked if that’s where the animals live. If you remember Pink Floyd’s Animals album, the resemblance is striking.

As a serious Pink Floyd fan (my second daughter is named Vera), I almost fell over when she said it and it still makes me wonder why the hell she did.

Another former resident provides some context:

That is most certainly Indianapolis, IN, taken from the back side of the JW Marriott, looking over Maryland Street at Victory field.  Without doing too much research, I’d bet it was taken out of one of the hallway windows that line the outside of the meeting rooms. I recognized this immediately.  The old coal fired steam plant right behind victory field is a dead give away to anyone who has lived in the city, as is the Indianapolis city flag flying to the left of the stars and stripes.

Fun personal story here.  I originally moved to Indianapolis 18 years ago.  We moved here because my father had received a job at the Courtyard by Marriott that used to inhabit this same site, which was Howard Johnson’s before that. They renovated it to create more rooms and meeting space for the Super Bowl that was held in Indianapolis a few years back, adding a large curved blue tower that sits alone on the west edge of the downtown skyline (the JW Marriott hotel), and using the former tower of the Courtyard as a split unit between a Courtyard and a Spring Hill Suites.

Victory Field is one of the best Triple A parks in the country, and was designed by the same people who designed Camden Yards in Baltimore, MD.  The design of Camden is responsible as the influence on many “throwback” modern ballparks across all levels of baseball.

This reader worries there are hard times ahead:

IMG_0280Let’s see, two weeks in a row now we’ve had views so easy they almost reach out of the screen, grab your lapels, and scream their addresses in your face.  So I’m betting you’ll go the other direction next week and give us one that’s correspondingly hard.  Something like this? 

Even so, Chini will get it somehow.

And he can’t wait:

VFYW Indianapolis Bird's Eye Marked - Copy

Man, you should have heard the stream of full on, raised-in-Staten Island-so-I-can-curse-in-seventeen-languages invectivery (yeah, invectivery) that came pouring forth after I loaded up this week’s image.  At least I get the satisfaction of knowing that the Dish team might have spent their weekend wading through an even bigger pile of responses than those for last week’s Malibu Barbie of a view. And these easy shots are needed, I suppose, to bring new folks on-board.

This week’s winner is yet another long-winless veteran:

Perhaps to reward us for a long summer, but a bit of an easy one this week, especially with the flag and the Wikipedia entry on USA municipal flags.  But perhaps most interesting was the obvious minor league ballpark with a teepee in it.  (I wonder if Dan Snyder has thought of trying to put traditional Indian housing in FedEx field …)  So a couple of Google searches brought me to the Indianapolis Indians and their Victory Field.

Here’s the reader who submitted the view:

I was elated to see my photo in the contest! After shouting over to my wife that this week’s contest had my photo, I suggested to her that it would probably not be fair for her to enter the contest. I should add that I’m a former winner from a couple of years ago, and that one of my views is actually in the book. In any case, this completely made my day.

The view shows a game in progress of the Indianapolis Indians at Victory Field. The photo was taken from the third floor of the JW Marriott hotel in Indianapolis. I’ve attached a street view showing the window from which I think I took the picture:


There really isn’t any room number, as the photo was taken from a lobby area in the hotel’s convention center. There’s a whole wall of windows overlooking the stadium, and in the street-view picture I gave my best estimate of the window from which the photo was taken. I can add that the flag on the left is that of the City of Indianapolis, of which Wikipedia helpfully points out that “A 2004 survey of flag design quality by the North American Vexillological Association ranked Indianapolis’s flag 8th best of 150 American city flags.

Next week will definitely be a lot harder, so if you’re up for the challenge, see you Saturday. In the meantime, here is this week’s guess collage – see if you can find your entry:


(Archive: Text|Gallery)

The View From Your Window Contest


You have until noon on Tuesday to guess it. City and/or state first, then country. Please put the location in the subject heading, along with any description within the email. If no one guesses the exact location, proximity counts.  Be sure to email entries to Winner gets a free The View From Your Window book or two free gift subscriptions to the Dish. Have at it.

Browse our previous window view contests here.

The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #221


A reader asks:

Is this a speed test this week?!

Not for everyone:

The Florida Panhandle? This is somewhere south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Another heads west:

Definitely on the West Coast with a temperate climate that allows both exposed plumbing and palm trees. I could find nothing about “Zone’s” other than it’s a tech company and also a catering firm on the East Coast. The rounded blue roofs look like they may cover platforms for a lite-rail system. It might be San Francisco, but I’ll bet on Portland, Oregon.

Just south, actually:

We’re in the US (“Private Property, No Parking” signs on the fence). The combination of cloudy skies, tightly packed buildings, tightly packed cars, and sparse palm trees screams Southern California to me, and particularly reminds me of the Pacific Beach neighborhood in San Diego.

Another gets closer:

Los Angeles? Boy, I could be totally wrong about this, but it looks so much like an early painting of Richard Diebenkorn’s.

One key clue led to hundreds of correct entries:

Thanks for the ridiculously easy contest. It’s a good opportunity to let the incorrect guessers know that they need an eye exam.

Another explains:

A building in the distance labeled either “Zane’s” or “Zone’s.” I’d searched these terms, along with words like restaurant, gym, store, and nightclub by themselves with little success. Once I deduced it was in California, I searched, “zanes california” and found this: It’s a restaurant located in Hermosa Beach, California.

Correct! A happy rookie:

OH MY GOD I ACTUALLY GOT ONE! Have tried several times in the past, but always pastedImageended giving up relatively quickly and lamenting the apparent futility of it all. Never even bothered submitting a guess. Now I know this isn’t the trickiest one in the world. No doubt I will be one of dozens to get it (or at least get the building right). No matter. To me, it is huge.

This picture screams SoCal. After that, the two biggest clues are the sign in the background and the building with the curved chimney. I decided to focus on the sign. And, after a fruitless search for “Zone’s” in various search engines and databases, I realized the “o” was an “a.” Zane’s. So a simple “Zane’s SoCal” led me to Hermosa Beach. After that, focusing on finding two blue houses side by side, Google Street View walked me to the Sea Sprite Motel and Apartments.

Thanks for the great work and for picking one us mere mortals had a fighting chance at!

Playing the contest is like Nintendo, it seems:

It finally happened. Dozens of such VFYW contests and humbled each time, until now. The best analogy I can think of takes me back to playing Super Mario Brothers on the original NES as a child. I could get to the final level, but time and time again I’d fail to best the evil boss at the end to save the princess. And then, one fateful day, it all came together. Perhaps through sheer luck, or maybe by logging enough hours to hone my skills, I made it through King Koopa and rescued Princess Peach.

My reward? A brief thank-you from that ungrateful princess. Then, the option to get sent off on a new quest altogether!! What the hell? Mario had risked fire-spewing lava and defeated a series of mutant reptiles, and all he gets is a mere “thanks” and an invitation for more life-risking adventures?! I’d assume if you get the title of “princess” one’s family could offer a little more in the tangible reward department.

I digress.

This view is from the Sea Sprite Motel (& Apartments) in Hermosa Beach, CA. It’s taken from the top floor, but I cannot tell which unit. Interestingly enough, the view from the other side of the building would be of the Pacific Ocean.

Fortunately, in the last 25 years I have learned to enjoy the satisfaction of a job completed as reward unto itself.

Another agrees:

Husband: “But if it’s that easy, won’t everyone else guess that too?  You won’t win.”

Me: “Yes, but it’s not about winning, it’s just exciting to get one right!”

A detailed visual walkthrough:

Using the awnings in the midfield of vision, and the blue house with small parking lot, it can be traced back to the second floor of Sea Sprite Motel and Apartments at 1016 The Strand. Because the window doesn’t seem to have a horizontal split, I am going with the window with the vertical split, circled below.


The map view is below showing the hotel, the building with the curved awnings, and Zane’s in the background:


Here is the view from the alley looking at the small parking lot and the tan building in the rear with the darker blue house behind that:


Another rags on LA:

The vague location came to me immediately. It was the general seaside atmospherics – the low cloudy sky of the Los Angeles beach areas that I grew to know years ago when I lived out there. Hunter Thompson once called it “the shitmist,” but I never thought of it that way. That gentle overcast was just a relief from the usual relentless sun.

Another reader looks to Hollywood:

This one might be a gimme for movie and TV buffs, since all kinds of things are shot in Hermosa Beach, given its proximity to LA. John Cusack ate in a diner across the street in Steven King’s 1408 and the Sea Sprite is visible through the windows behind him:


It also starred in a pool party scene from Gilmore Girls:


And, bizarrely, in a scene from Monk set in San Francisco but shot 400 miles to the south and photoshopped into the Bay Area via a digital Bay Bridge:


This is an obvious fraud, since there are only 2-3 days per year one might throw a pool party next to the Bay Bridge. In SF, everyone in that scene would be hypothermic.

And you can’t have LA without pulp:

Marlowe crawled back to consciousness and tried to remember what it was that Zane had told him last night just before somebody put his lights out.  Who was it swung the sap?  Eddie Mars’ boys?  They were waiting for him outside that steakhouse, the one on the corner of Pier and Hermosa Avenues, where he’d dropped in to get the lowdown from the kid (not the one looking for the black bird, the other one). 

The bar there was nice and dim and they poured a decent gimlet, but still Marlowe hadn’t been ready to believe that it could be this easy. “Hell,” he reflected, “that dame didn’t need a private dick.  Type ‘Zane’s California’ in any search engine and she gets the motherload.  It’s Hermosa Beach, not Santa Monica or Hollywood, but this is still Raymond Chandler country: sunburnt stucco and palm trees.” 

It took nothing to retrace steps from the steakhouse to the Sea Sprite Motel at 1016 The Strand and to wait there for the hard guys to make their next move.  “Next time I’ll get a window facing the beach,” he thought.  “The surf’s loud enough, you might as well get to see it.”

Sea Sprite

Another player finally found a way to incorporate a teen soap opera into a contest entry:

Palm trees. California! But WHERE in California?? Oh no!

It’s in times of need just like this that I humbly turn to the “World’s Greatest Compendium of Locations where The O.C. was Filmed“.  And, as always, TWGCOLWTO.C.WF puts the competition to shame. What you need to know about the Sea Sprite Motel at 1016 The Strand, Hermosa Beach, CA:

  • A cheap motel where pornographer Lance Baldwin stays.
  • Episode 16 (of season 2), when Sandy Cohen goes to the blackmailer Lance’s apartment to try to negotiate the ransom for the porno tape which Julie made when she was young. We see it again later when, after Julie has confessed her sordid past to Caleb, Caleb also goes to Lance’s apartment at the Sea Sprite motel and shows him the extortion money. But after getting his hands on the tape, Caleb double-crosses Lance, takes back the $500,000 cash, and has two thugs beat Lance up.

I have no idea what room, but let’s say … 12, because my research indicates that’s where all the shit went down:


And I choose to believe that our photo submitter was this guy:


Readers truly went to extraordinary lengths to distinguish themselves this week:

Since you will undoubtedly have lots of correct answers, I better up my game, here’s more info:

Trivia: Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente and Mose Allison stayed there, as did Ice Capades performers.

Personal Connection: I’ve now spoken to the 7185647desk clerk on the phone, as I called the hotel to ask for the room number of my guess. Sounds like quite a few Dishheads are calling and even stopping by to scout it out! End unit is #17, my guess is #16, he said some folks were guessing #15. Pretty certain the right answer is the window I indicated in my original post which I now know is in room #16.

Given the apparent on-site investigations, I expect the winner will provide at least one of the following: (a) a picture of themselves at the window posing with the motel’s owner and/or (b) a DJI drone video fly-through out the window showing the view, circling over the hotel for some areal footage, ending with a stunning sunset shot over Hermosa Beach (roll credits).

Another shares a story from their eventful stay at the Sea Sprite:

My wife and three young kids stayed at the Sea Sprite for July 4th in 1998. We had just moved to California and wanted to see the fireworks (and we did not drive on the Jewish sabbath, thus the need for a local hotel – as well as local parking).  We did not realize that the Strand in Hermosa Beach was a central vortex for 20-somethings gone wild.  We survived the interesting cultural experience, and my wife’s car survived the partying that occurred in the parking lot and everywhere else.

The problem surfaced when we drove just a few short miles home.  Our other car was stolen off our street in Redondo Beach.  So I called the Redondo Beach police and told them that my car was stolen.  The officer replied, “Why do you think that your car was stolen?” I replied, “I went to where it was parked, and it is no longer there!”  Without missing a beat, he replied, “In the police business, that is what we call a clue.”

Turns out, it was just taken for a joy ride. About ten days later, as another Redondo Beach police officer was writing a second ticket for illegal parking, they gave me a call and said if I could pick it up in the next 20 minutes, they would tear up the tickets. And so it was.

A visual entry:

Zane's Restaurant - Google Maps 2014-09-07 23-55-10 2014-09-07 23-56-05

There’s also a good jazz scene in town:

The VFYW this week looked immediately familiar, as this is an area I have spent a lot of time visiting over the years. As a certifiable jazz nut, I have spent a lot of time just down the block at the famous Lighthouse Cafe, arguably the home and birthplace for the type of “cool” jazz that defined the “West Coast” jazz as opposed to the hard bop made famous in New York and locales further east. While the Lighthouse is now a venue for a wide range of musical styles, it was made most famous during the 60s and later years as a fantastic venue to hear the very best West Coast jazz musicians:

Another reader:

I finally know what Chini must feel like. This was a five-minute window, and it only took five minutes because I was working out which of the windows it must have been taken from. In fact, my nine year old took one look and told me to start looking in California. I found myself frustrated that it wasn’t more difficult, seeing as how I planned to devote a full day to the search. Crazy, eh? I get frustrated when I can’t find it, and frustrated when I do. Madness, this.

And here’s the Chini, the myth, the almost-screwed-up-this-week legend:

VFYW Hermosa Beach Actual Window Marked - Copy

So the only real trick with this one is how you read the store sign at left. If you read it properly, as “Zane’s,” you were a four-second Google search away from finding the right spot. If, like some people I know real well, you looked at it on your iPhone and thought it said “Zone’s” you instead spent a nice chunk of time searching for a business that doesn’t exist. Epic. Chini. Fail. Thankfully, the uber LA-ness of the scene and the Bank of America sign rescued me later on Saturday.

This week’s view comes from Hermosa Beach and looks northeast along a heading of 38.99 degrees from the second floor of the Sea Sprite Motel, most likely room 16. As an aside, kudos to your viewer for picking a motel straight out of my Jersey Shore childhood. Most Dish readers stay at posh hotels and fancy B&B’s. Nice to see someone kicking it old school for once.

A tie-breaking idea:

Since this week’s contest features such an easy clue, I think the winner should be the person who guesses nearest to the number of correct entries. 162!

More than twice that actually. In fact, here is a relatively accurate pie chart for this week’s guesses:

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 12.10.26 PM

And as is usually the case in an incredibly easy contest like this one, our winner comes from our prestigious list of winless guessers of difficult contests from the past:

Sea Sprite Motel, back of the building, second floor looking northeast, second room from the south end of the building. Got it from the Zane’s restaurant sign, which I mistook for Zone’s. It’s either room 16 or 17. I’m going with 16 based on the angles.

Congrats! From the reader who submitted the view:

Looking east from the third floor bathroom window of room 16, Sea Sprite Motel, Hermosa Beach, California. Here’s another view from the motel:

View from a window

Lastly, a reader figures out our dastardly plan:

So, I’ve never entered a VFYW contest before, because I never really had any clue how to start. I always counted myself lucky if I guessed the right continent. And since I figured this out, I’m sure virtually everyone did. But now you’ve got me hooked. There go my Saturdays.

See you then! Until then, see if you can spot your entry in this comprehensive collage:


(Archive: Text|Gallery)

The View From Your Window Contest

by Dish Staff


You have until noon on Tuesday to guess it. City and/or state first, then country. Please put the location in the subject heading, along with any description within the email. If no one guesses the exact location, proximity counts.  Be sure to email entries to Winner gets a free The View From Your Window book or two free gift subscriptions to the Dish. So have at it, and just be happy you don’t have to compete against these guys:

Browse our previous window view contests here.

The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #220

by Chas Danner & Chris Bodenner


A reader sees the Far East:

Aberdeen Fishing Village, Southern edge of Hong Kong Island, China.

A much more detailed entry:

My guess is that this a view of the Mediterranean coast of Peniscola, Spain. Several factors lead me to draw this conclusion. The piece of land appears to be a peninsula because part of it juts out farther than the rest, creating two inlets of water. The water is almost certainly the salt-water ocean, as indicated by the crashing waves and decreasing water level on the shoreline. The leaves of the trees in the center and top left corner of the image suggest there are palm trees, which do, in fact, grow in Peniscola.

Peniscola has a peninsula and the Serra D’Irta mountain range behind it. The intense blue of the water and golden color of the sand in the image very closely resemble the colors of the coast of where the Mediterranean Sea borders Spain. The architecture of the buildings along the coast – the salmon colored rooftops and white stone – are also extremely similar in appearance to images of buildings on the coast of Peniscola. In comparing an image of the Peniscola peninsula to this view, the architectural style of buildings, mountain range, and vegetation including palm trees in the two photographs appear to be very similar. One difference, however, is that the view from the window has more vegetation such as heavy tree growth and fewer houses. I believe the photographs were taken from different angles and in different points along the coast. The view from the window is more distant from the main hub of houses, possibly closer to the mountains and more isolated.​

Another finds a loophole:

You’ve ruined every one of my Saturdays for over a year now with your obscure locales, wild goose chases and Google Street View shenanigans.  But finally, I can say with absolute certainty where this photo is located – my balcony:

View from your window

Yee-haw, gimme my book.

Another reader is thinking the south of France:

I took one look at that picture and the words from a song in the early-1960s British Musical Stop The World – I Want To Get Off popped from my lips:

Give me half a chance
In the South of France
To make my pitch
And I’ll be dirty, rotten, stinkin’ filthy rich.

Of course I’m probably whole continents off from where this actually is, but now I should get out the vinyl and listen to the original cast recording for the first time in decades since it’s going to be going through my head all afternoon anyway.

A whole continent off, sadly. An eagle-eyed player notes an essential clue for amateur hotel reviewers:

Wherever it is, they are automatically going to lose a star on Trip Advisor.  Why can’t building staff take care of all those annoying dead bugs in webs on the outside of the windows?

Another finds the view within:

Green mountains, white beaches, palm trees … I’ve never been there but this is how I imagine the Caribbean Sea.

Wrong coast. Another try:

Catalina Island, California.

Wrong country, but the following reader nails the right one:

santa cruz huatulco

In April our cruise ship docked at the port of the Pacific beach resort village of Santa Cruz Huatulco, Oaxaca State, Mexico.  The coast line there has several small bays, each with a cluster of resort hotels and condos.  Every thing looks new and fresh and clean, all perfect for the comfort of the turista.  I couldn’t make an exact match from the Google satelite images, but my educated guess is the Huatulco coast.

A few other readers guessed Acapulco, but the following reader remembers the view, even after four decades and the march of Mexico’s progress:

There are some immediate dead giveaways that this view is of the Pacific coast of Mexico: the vaguely Moorish, white-stucco hotel turrets, the white-painted trunks of the palm trees, the golden sand, the nearby mountain range, the banana trees, the little turista-jaunt boats anchored just off shore, and the multiple bays. We are looking at the Tesoro Manzanillo resort in Manzanillo. I have no idea from what window.

But allow me a Dishian digression. In 1970, while on Christmas break from college, I drove with two other girlfriends from San Antonio down the Gulf Coast, stopping in Veracruz and then on through the Isthmus of Tehuantepec to Oaxaca. We foolishly scored grass everywhere we went, bought embroidered blouses, got very tan, drank fresa con leche, dallied with cute boys, and endured the rudimentary toilets of Pemex stations all to the soundtrack of the recently released Plastic Ono Band:

Ah, youth. In Oaxaca we asked the locals where we should go on the West Coast that was beautiful but not touristy. “Manzanillo,” they said. Four years later Las Hadas opened, the prototype for all other Moorish-turreted Manzanillan resorts and put the little fishing village on the map. Asi es la vida.

A previous winner notes:

Manzanillo hosts the fleet of Mexico’s Navy Region 6 and the city is home to the only statue of Snoopy outside the United States. Both of which, sadly, are in the opposite direction from this view out of Villa Las Cumbres.

Another reader:

This is the first contest where I recognized the subject of the photo. Years ago my wife and I traveled to the state of Colima, in which Manzanillo is located, to visit her sister. She arranged a two-night stay for us at Las Hadas Resort, also on the Peninsula de Santiago, where we enjoyed very inexpensive accommodations in exchange for sitting through a hard-sell time share “opportunity”! Las Hadas, being the location for the Blake Edwards film “10” which popularized white-girl cornrows, showed that film nightly in the guest rooms.

Meanwhile, Chini figures that many were frustrated by this week’s view:

Between the holiday and US Open tickets I was hoping for a quick hunt this weekend and we got just that. Unfortunately, it probably made some view-hunters miserable. Finding this view is all about using small clues to locate an otherwise generic resort. If you did it right (as I’m guessing a ton of folks did) this one was a near insta-find. But if you misinterpreted them you could spend hours searching Hawaii, Indonesia or the like.

This week’s view comes from the shores of Manzanillo, Mexico:

VFYW Manzanillo Bird's Eye Marked - Copy

The pic was taken next to a potted plant at the top of a staircase in the main hallway of the Villa Las Cambres bed and breakfast and looks north by northwest along a heading of 332.75 degrees over Ascencia harbor.

Another has a pic of that potted plant:

I spent a good amount of time Saturday afternoon scanning the coast of the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Jamaica. Eventually I gave up on the Caribbean because most of the large resorts didn’t really have fishing boats close in, and there weren’t that many places with mountains that large close to the sea.

I switched my focus to smaller peninsulas along the Pacific coast of Mexico, and a few minutes later found the Santiago Peninsula in Manzanillo, Mexico. We are looking down at the Tesoro Manzanillo resort from a rental house called Villa Las Cumbres. Helpfully, they have a Facebook page with quite a few photos.

Along the top floor (just inside the front door?), there are two large windows:


A view from the street level provides a view through the right window, which is close but too far right.


So that leaves us with the left window. I tried to find a decent exterior view, but the best I could get is a crop of a wide angle Panoramio photo from way, way down on the beach:


This week’s picture was taken by someone standing on the landing, through the window highlighted below. Quick and dirty Photoshop reenactment created with help from Shutterstock:


Good contest – not so hard to find the location, but getting the window was a bit tricky because the geography made street view useless.

This week’s winner was last week’s runner up and another veteran player from our list of long-suffering Correct Guessers:

This week’s picture was taken in Manzanillo, Mexico, from the northwest side of Villa Las Cumbres B&B (43 Avenida de los Riscos). Here is the window, on the 2nd floor:


A tough one, at least for me. It was fairly easy to tell that this was probably some tropical
American country; the obvious clue to follow afterwards was the hotel in Moorish-Mediterranean style in the bottom right corner of the picture, but for some reason it took me nowhere at first. A Tesoro – “treasure”– so is named the resort – a little hard to unearth.

From the view’s submitter, a contest veteran himself:

I was pleasantly surprised to see my window submission show up as this week’s contest. I don’t get to travel much, and when I saw this view I knew it would make a good contest.

Here’s some more detail about the location: The shot was taken from the entry hall of a rental vacation home at Avenida de los Riscos 43, Manzanillo, Mexico. The property is also called Villa Las Cumbres (House of the Summits). Every year, we take a trip with my kids and my brother’s kids to a beach somewhere, usually Oregon, Washington or Texas. We call it the “Cousins’ Trip” and this year we splurged and went out of the country to Manzanillo. I’d never been to the Pacific coast of Mexico before and it was breathtaking. We managed to luck out and find this house that sleeps 10 on AirBnB the day before and the views were spectacular.


Above is a shot of the house from the beach, with the window highlighted. My only regret is that I have to wait until next week to solve a contest.

(Archive: Text|Gallery)

The View From Your Window Contest


You have until noon on Tuesday to guess it. City and/or state first, then country. Please put the location in the subject heading, along with any description within the email. If no one guesses the exact location, proximity counts.  Be sure to email entries to Winner gets a free The View From Your Window book or two free gift subscriptions to the Dish. Have at it.

Browse previous contests here.

The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #219

by Chas Danner


A reader thinks they’ve got it:

Mombasa, Kenya with Fort Jesus in the background.

Another reader:

Being new to this contest, I’d like you to know how much I enjoy reading all the comments that folks include. So much is really helpful to new participants like myself, BUT I really love the wisecracking comments and entries of the frustrated. Thank you!!

The View From Your Window Contest, driving readers to throw things our their windows since 2010:

I’ve never been more frustrated with a VFYWC than this week. Why? Because I’ve found this city before while searching for another week’s window, but I can’t for the life of me remember where it is. I can’t remember which window I was looking for when I found it, my cell browser history doesn’t go back more than a month, and I evidently wasn’t signed into Google Earth when I found it. Arrrrrgggggghhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!  I await the inevitable frustration when you reveal the answer and I immediately remember every detail I’ve been grasping for for the last 72 hours.

That reader will happy to know that he did get the country, but for the sake of suspense, we’ll get to that a little further down. Another:

I hope that’s Dubrovnik! I’ve walked the wall before.

That was the location of our 200th contest actually. They do indeed look similar. Another is thinking South America:

This totally looks like a view of Cuzco, Peru that my cousin sent me last year. Surely the gods would not allow me to so immediately and confidently guess the right view. Still, I will persist with my answer: The flaky-looking barrel tile, the crowding, distant mountain vista and general proximity of the structures to one another smack of the hotel room scene that was sent to me. But, I’m certain that we’ll discover this to be some quaint and distant Italian village whose claim to fame is as a supplier of the purest most virginal olive oil. Before I digress into further sarcasm, I must point out it is indeed a beautiful view, the blueness of the sky is quite captivating. Who knows, I may be within the same latitude, at the very least…

Too far south. Inching up the globe, this player notes an important assortment of clues:

We have a densely built group of brick and adobe buildings, mostly with clay tile roofs, overlooking a mountain valley. It is impossible to know for sure, but I think the flag on the parapet in the center of the upper half of the picture is a green-white-red tricolor, either that of Italy or Mexico. Either country works with these buildings and landscape. I’ve managed to stare at the flag long enough to convince myself there is something on the white stripe, so I’m going to say Mexico.

There appears to yellow lichen (Xanthoria parietina) on some of the roofs which grows…basically all over the world, but seems to favor coastal areas. So, mountains, valley, near the coast, in Mexico. In other words, just about anywhere in Mexico. The yellow color of a couple of the buildings reminds me of Oaxaca, but I don’t think that is it. The older parts of that city are in a valley, not overlooking it. (The worst part about this challenge for me is that every time I type the name of a Mexican town into Google image search, I get pictures of food. You guys are killing me!) Once again, I am reasonably confident as to region, but I know when I’m beat. Plus I’m thinking it may be Italy after all. Blind guess in (vain) hope of proximity: Taxco, Mexico, because it is on a hillside and the tile roofs seem especially popular there.

Many readers correctly identified the lichen this week. Another gets us closer:

I dunno, but there’s something about that fortress in the background that reminds me of some of the towns you see near the Bosphorus, somewhere between Istanbul and the Black Sea. Is that specific enough for you? Yeah, thought not.

Continuing to circle in:

Definitely Mediterranean, but contests have recently featured Spain, southern France, Baleric Islands, Greece. There’s a nice view of water & mountains behind a castle turret. I’m just throwing a dart at the board and guessing Tunis, Tunisia.

Another was thinking Spain (again), but gave up when she instead “chose to spend [her] indoor time this weekend binging on the good-years episodes of the Simpsons marathon on FXX.  D’oh!” Speaking of mysteries, a few years ago Matt Groening finally revealed the actual location that inspired Springfield. Meanwhile, this homer gets the country:

A village somewhere in Tuscany. I know the turrets one sees is a clue but I’m not sure what the ancient influence is. I’m guessing it’s a village somewhere in Tuscany, Italy.

Nice job, a Tuscan hill town indeed. Which one? This week’s very first entrant guessed right:

The lichen-stained clay roof tiles, the brick-and-stone architecture, and the gentle hills in the distance (love that deep blue color the mountain has) remind me of the touristy town of Siena, south of Florence. Plus, although the flags, hanging from poles on the two crenellated towers to the left and the center of the photo, are both limp (no wind…grr) I can make out faint red, white, and green stripes, with the red band hanging furthest to the ground—as it should as the red band goes on the right (away from the pole) if you fly it correctly.

This previous winner nails the exact location and window:


This week, we are in Siena, Italy, just a couple of blocks from the View From Your Window that you ran last summer. Unlike that unmistakable view, the submitter carefully framed the contest picture to avoid including the famous Mangia Tower to the left, leaving only some of the Palazzo Pubblico‘s merlons visible.  While the view screams Tuscany, those merlons were the clue I used to find this week’s window.  This photo from the hotel’s website and another from a travel website confirmed the location.   The contest window is in one of the apartment rooms at the I Terizi di Siena at Via dei Termini 13.  Although I could not find a room number, it is a south facing room on the fifth floor.

Bit of the Palazzo Pubblico

No heatmap this week as the vast majority of contestants got the town and window. And this one used a unique clue:

siena air conditioner

My initial reaction was that it wouldn’t be easy unless I got lucky. I got lucky. After searching for mossy terracotta and getting several Tuscany hits, I found the air conditioner shown on the next building appeared to be an Italian product. A search for “Tuscany fort village” led to the attached image of the Il Campo medieval piazza that can be seen from the opposite direction in the “view.”

siena il campo

This reader nailed the flags on the tower in the background as well:


The flag of Tuscany and the city flag of Siena.

A first-time reader and player chimes in:


I was using Google Image Search for keywords different keywords like “Italy”, “striped“, “wall”, “armament”, “merlon”, “tower”, “rooftops”, until I finally found the right sillhouette of the Palazzo Pubblico at Piazza del Campo. From there I used Google Earth and panned around until I found the right combination of roofs, chimneys, towers and the glass skylight, that is in the window. Hope my guess is right. First time I am taking part here, found VFYW Contest linked in this Der Spiegel report.

Glad to have you! Around 25K new visitors have checked out the contest thanks to that link. And we’ll have a post up on the amazing Bellingcat effort soon. (Update: here it is.) Moving on, many Dish readers have apparently been to Siena:

This image brings back that magnificent smell of wood-burning fires filling the air.  Walking the streets of Montepulciano looked like an ancient city, but smelled like camping.  It was the most delightful and unexpected surprise during my trip to Italy.

And love the dining:

I had one of my most memorable meals ever in Siena, right on the Piazza del Campo at sunset. Cinghiale in umido con polenta, a bottle of Brunello di Montalcino and cantuccini with Vin Santo for dessert. Fu meraviglioso!

And the influence on New England architecture:

I hope the photographer had a lovely time in Siena and climbed the Torre del Mangia, the tall bell tower at the Palazzo Pubblico. In a neat coincidence, Wikipedia says the bell tower was used as a model for Waterbury Union Station in Waterbury, Connecticut, site of one of last month’s VFYW contests.


VFYWSiena copy.001

Ah, Siena! Hard to miss, with the famous Torre del Mangia just out of view but the false parapets giving away the Palazzo Pubblico. The Palazzo looks down on the stunning Campo, home of the crazy Palio horse race, last held only 10 days ago (was a VFYW reader in town for the Palio?)  Just to right of center, prominent on the horizen is the tower of the Palazzo Chigi-Saracini, now home to the Accademia Musicale Chigiana, an international centre for advanced musical studies. Nice gig if you can get it. Just out of view to the right lies the famous Cathedral of Siena.

That’s exactly when and why our submitter was there. More on the race:

Siena is a great town, incredibly overcrowded during the horse races which are held in the town square.  IIRC they are done bare-back so are quite challenging for the jockeys.  The bragging rights if your contrada (city section?) wins the race are hard to imagine for an outsider but very real for those involved. In the Spring and Fall when the mobs have left it is a lovely town to tour, amazing old architecture, wonderful restaurants. Thanks again for these wonderful chances to renew old memories (and more often to explore new worlds).

Another advises that one of their “best travel experiences so far is going to the winning contrada house after the Palio for the most amazingly hospitable and electrified party of the year; and don’t bring any money, it will just upset the hosts.” One more reader’s process:


After a failed search of nearby hill towns such as Pienza and Montalcino, I cast my net further to the northwest (the only direction from which Monte Amiata has this profile) and happened upon Siena. Voila, I instantly saw a match with the corner feature of Siena’s famous Palazzo Pubblico. From there, I drew a line from Monte Amiata to the corner of the Palazzo Pubblico and looked for Hotels or B&B’s. Pretty quickly I converged on I Terzi di Siena.


Chini approves:

VFYW Siena Bird's Eye Marked - Copy

An easy view, for sure, but one that brings back nice memories. My junior year in college I studied in Florence and our program had us take day trips to just about every town in Tuscany. Lucca, San Gimignano, Pisa, Arezzo, pretty much all of them, and each more amazing than the last. So despite being 4,000 miles from the NYC, this week’s location is one of the few that I’ve been to, having sprawled out below your viewer’s window in the piazza as we ate lunch. Unfortunately, we were there in the fall so we didn’t get to see the Palio, but I’m betting your viewer just did…

VFYW Siena Actual Window 4 - Copy

This week’s view comes from Siena, Italy and looks almost due south along a heading of 170.1 degrees. The iconic torre del mangia is just out of frame on the left and the piazza itself is hidden by a steep drop and the buildings in the foreground. The picture was taken from the Camera Romana (Roman room) on the fifth floor of a bed and breakfast called i Terzi di Siena.

This week’s winner, a 12-contest veteran, comes from our vaunted list of previously correct guessers of difficult views:


Tougher this week. Learned a bit about mediterranean roof tiles to get me started and settled on Italy. After browsing photos of old towers in Italy, I came across the Palazzo Pubblico, which had the distinctive crenels in the upper left of the photo. Couldn’t get the view though until I came home from work and fired up Google Earth, which pegged the spot pretty quickly. The tower in the center right is the Fondazione Accademia Musicale Chigiana – Onlus, and just out of view is the Siena Cathedral, which otherwise dominates the skyline. The view is looking south from what appears to be Via Dei Termini, 17. See above for the window.

Congrats on the win! From the view’s original submitter:

VFYW - Siena - Location on map

The image was taken in Siena, Italy the day after “Il Palio di Siena,” aka “the most dangerous horse race in the world.” It is a view looking southward from this address: Vie Dei Termini, 13 Siena, Italy. I was staying on the the fifth floor and had a view westward, which had an obstructed view of a busy street, and a view southward (towards Piazza del Campo), which was straight from my bed. I much preferred the southward view!  The best giveaway is the flag in the distance to the left. It is hard to see but is white and black, which denotes Siena itself.

VFWY - more details

Update: Had some technical (Time Warner Cable) difficulties today, but still wanted to guess-collage many of the wonderful visuals we got from contestants this week:


(Archive: Text|Gallery)


The View From Your Window Contest

by Dish Staff


You have until noon on Tuesday to guess it. City and/or state first, then country. Please put the location in the subject heading, along with any description within the email. If no one guesses the exact location, proximity counts.  Be sure to email entries to Winner gets a free The View From Your Window book or two free gift subscriptions to the Dish. Have at it!

Previous contests here.