VFYW: Stuck Between A Nazi And A Stalinist
For contest #334, we land in a beautiful mountain valley filled with guesthouses.
(For this week’s View From Your Window contest, the post exceeds the content limit for Substack’s email service, so to ensure that you see the full results, click the headline above.)
Last week’s winner is daunted this week:
Boy, this has it all. Obscure location? Check. Vague addresses? Check. Rugged terrain? Check. Google Street View? Definitely not. Unexpected curveball? Yup. Luckily (ha ha) I had some extra time to devote to it this week, given my sudden and unwelcome acquaintance with Omicron. These days, nowhere to go but through, it seems …
This sleuth has a pro tip in general:
Last week’s contest pointed out a problem to me. If you use the Substack iPad app to read Substack like I do, the pictures are lower resolution than on the web. It was being able to read the sign next to the door on the cottage that revealed the issue.
On to solving this week’s challenging view:
This is tough because you can’t see the top of the mountain to get any sense of an iconic (or not iconic) view. But the yellow bus on the left side of the road significantly limits the options. Overall the city has a First World vibe, there’s no large body of water to be seen, and the sweater plus absence of palm trees indicates a temperate or colder climate. At first I thought the mountain looked volcanic and tried New Zealand, but those mountains all seem forested.
I’ll try for Scotland. Now the task is to find a high point where you could look down at a decent-sized city, with a hill/mountain in the background. And I’m turning up empty. So let’s just say Inverness, because why not?
Another sleuth: “I have no idea where this picture is located, so I’m guessing Switzerland.” Another goes with simply, “Carpathian Foothills, Romania.” Another expands on that location:
I’m composing this on my iPad as we cruise up the inside passage of Alaska — my first time going on a trip without my computer in a very long time.
One of the skills you have to learn in VFYW sleuthing is letting go of treasured hypotheses that are not panning out. This week provided many opportunities for that. The first hypothesis to go was that this a place where they drive on the left, because of that yellow bus parked on the wrong side of the road. Japan has the right sort of mountains but the wrong sort of villages; Cyprus is the other way around. I toyed briefly with the idea of Nepal, but no dice. It’s obviously not England, New Zealand, or Australia.
Then I decided it was the Alps. Switzerland is too neat, but I thought maybe Italy or Slovenia was a possibility. The trouble is when you google “mountain village Italy” you get things like “Ten picturesque villages you won’t want to miss.” This one ain’t picturesque and looks pretty missable to me.
Then I decided to search on things like “steep bare rocky mountainside” all over the world. That was when I though I hit the jackpot, when I found this photo:
It’s tagged as being in the Carpathian Mountains on the border between Ukraine and Romania. For a while I was convinced this was the mountainside in the background of the VFYW. But after searching and finding nothing there, I began to let go of this theory as well. I think it’s more likely to be a mountain called Pip Ivan.
Our super-sleuth in Providence gets closer to the window by going south:
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