VFYW: Bordering On A Crisis
For contest #391, we find ourselves in a place that's seen a lot of warfare over the centuries — and hopefully not anytime soon.
(For the View From Your Window contest, the results below exceed the content limit for Substack’s email service, so to ensure that you see the full results, click the headline above.)
From the winner of last week’s contest:
Thanks Chris, I’ll take the book. At least I’ll have something to show for the win, and I’ll continue to be able to contribute to the great work you guys do to entertain us! Or at least me ...
But here’s a disappointed followup from our super-sleuth in Augusta, GA:
Alas, streak broken! I thought I had looked at every storage facility in New Mexico, but the critical one eluded me. Oh well, at least I wasn’t off by thousands of miles. But I was hoping to make it a full-year streak, as I’d kept it going since last November’s #353 in Logan, UT … so close!
I did, however, enjoy the “reveal” more than usual, since it actually WAS a reveal for me this time — but I didn’t enjoy it enough to quit attempting to solve them. The delicious satisfaction derived from finding a window has no substitute!
Another followup from our CO/NJ super-champ:
I FEEL SO SHITTY, Chris. I ignored Chini’s first rule of VFYW: go with your gut. I immediately thought it was New Mexico, because of the pergola and the building style. So much so, that I searched every single self-storage facility in Albuquerque, twice. After coming up empty, I moved on to Sante Fe, but apparently I was not thorough enough. After seeing the answer this morning, I did the Santa Fe self-storage search again and of course found it, easily.
This miss is hard to take. I turn in my Super Champ title:
Title returned. Here’s a sleuth who also should’ve followed his gut:
WTActualF? You mean to tell me I outsmarted myself and correctly guessed Santa Fe because the entry point was indeed the “feel” of the View? That after totally dismissing the feel as immaterial (or at least too generalized), it was actually correct? I’m laughing my ass off at the degree to which I can overthink this contest.
So anyway, Santa Fe is an amazing town, isn’t it? I went there on business a couple decades ago, loved the hell out of it, and when I came home, immediately made plans to return with my wife. We did — a few months later, and we had a stunningly great time. Canyon Road was a real trip; the contrast between kitsch and seriously good art was enough to keep our heads spinning. But we did happen upon an artist whose work blew us away by the name of Karen Harms. Sadly, there’s not much of her work viewable online, but this painting hangs in our front hall:
Another piece of art comes from our super-chef:
I loved the piece about roadrunners. We often see them running up and down our driveway in Tucson. We visited Santa Fe last year for the opera during the Indian Market (maybe we were there at the same time as the sleuth who took the picture). We bought this sculpture made of spoons and nails:
A program note from the super-champ in Berkeley:
At the end of last week’s writeup, the Kingston super-sleuth floated a great idea, one I’ve often pondered myself: how could the occasional meetup between sleuths become possible — the way you’ve been able to do when you pass through one of our towns, Chris, because you know all of our email addresses, and you know at least very approximately where we live (but we know you’re a good guy and it’s safe).
What Kingston suggests could snowball if it were to become too popular, though, and you could find yourself snowed under with contact requests. But it’s an idea worth thinking about.
The super-sleuth in Eagle Rock is also thinking about it:
Well I, for one, would love to get a beer with any sleuths visiting LA — as long as it’s a fairly central location, since it can take an hour to get from Eagle Rock to Santa Monica. It’s comparable (distance-and-hassle-wise) to a New Yorker driving from Fort Totten, Queens to Newark, NJ — which, shudder.
Any takers? On to this week’s window, here’s our super-sleuth in Bethlum:
How could this be anywhere but the US with that basketball court in the view? Lots of grassy space, nice vista with water — maybe this is a college campus in New England?
From the beginning of Team Bellevue’s correct entry:
Fun/interesting challenge this week. Felt like the metal flag and castles on the horizon would be the soft spots, but once again it was a distinctive spire that lead to this week’s window.
The mix of vehicles, historical structures has us leaning Europe at the drop
The flatness of terrain had us thinking Scandinavia (Denmark?), but the lack of bikes/lanes killed that idea
At this point we settled in and started queries like “Octagonal Church Steeples.” That turned up an interesting Wiki on octagonal churches. The answer to the location lies within, but we missed it at first glance …
An NYC sleuth focused on the same clues:
My first guess was a college campus. I have a decent record of guessing campus views, so I was pretty psyched. A campus view is even how I won my VFYW book! But boy was I wrong. Instead, the key clue is the church spire. There are very few octagonal churches in the world, especially with spires that look like that. In fact, there’s a Wikipedia listing of the few of them that exist!
The super-sleuth in Tucson zooms in on the octagon:
I found the location by looking for the distinctive church tower in the distance, which proved easy because of its unusual shape. It is Alexander’s Cathedral:
Another writes, “So, Chris, the cycle continues: impossible generic box stores one week to unique architecture the next. You know how to keep me engaged!” But where’s the unique Alexander’s Cathedral? Giuseppe, the super-champ in Rome, names the right region:
Not hard this week, but not especially easy either. The flatness of the landscape and the features of the church clearly point to the Baltic Sea region — an arc that goes from Denmark to Finland, passing through Germany, Poland and the three Baltic countries. Here things get a little tougher: there are a lot of churches in that region, and a lot of lakes, so it takes a little perseverance.
The super-sleuth in Ridgewood singles out a Baltic country:
The fleur-de-lis at the tip of the flagpole suggests it’s one a handful of countries that use that design a lot in its iconography. One of those countries is Lithuania, and that tower sure looks a lot like the Lithuania tower designs in this graphic:
I couldn’t quite find the match, but my gut says we’re pretty close!
Getting there. Here’s a family affair from the sleuth in Shiprock:
I shared this contest with my two sons (9 and 11) to see what they could come up with: “It looks like Europe ... and there’s water back there, but it doesn’t look like the Mediterranean, so it must be the Atlantic.” Somehow they decided it was Poland or maybe Germany. Then I introduced them to the idea of the Baltics and the Baltic Sea, which they had not specifically heard of, but they have heard of Latvia and Lithuania, so we searched around there for a while, followed by Finland, Sweden, and Denmark.
They eventually settled on the right place. Here’s Chini with a view and a new clue:
We’ve had some fun pics from castles over the years, including those in San Juan and Sintra, but I think this one takes the cake. And for those who still haven’t found the location, all I can say is when it comes to views, some are easy, some are hard, and some — like this one — are borderline.
This view could set a record for the contest: it’s maybe the closest to an international border ever submitted.
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