Week 7, Round 4: Suburban Duplexes?

First Impressions: North American, outside of a housing development with duplexes and the like. I think that’s a No Trespassing sign on the chainlink fence down there.


Looking around: Impression not abated with a quick gander around. There seems to be some mild hilliness so we could be in Idaho or Colorado. This part of town seems to be older-younger, by which I mean, the architecture looks like it was made in the late 80s and 90s, possibly even as far back as the 70s, but is in an established area. Nothing looks super new or trendy. But it’s not the flat ranch style common to the 60s and early 70s.


We are the corner of W 7th St and Snipes Avenue.


Could we be in South Carolina? Columbia Cinemas?


The area code is 541.


There’s a port area. Huh, that doesn’t seem like South Carolina, because SC’s Columbia is smack in the middle of the state. There’s a lake next to it, but I kinda doubt that’s the port they mean.

As soon as I started heading towards the port area, everything got super gritty and glare-y. In Geoguessr terms, this usually means a place was scouted out on the first pass, but not a second pass and it’s usually somewhere in the boondocks. But we’re clearly in some suburb or small city.


Ah, a sign for The Dalles. Right. You’d think that a girl living in the Pacific Northwest would think of THAT Columbia first. Clearly, we’re by the Columbia River Gorge.



Still, that means that I’m gonna have to narrow this down, since Columbia is the river and not the town. Looks like we’re on the 30.


And where the 30 and the 84 piggyback each other and turn into Portland’s city center.


Looks like we are out by the Columbia River Gorge’s scenic area, since that’s where the 84 and 30 split and join up again.


Nope, I’m wrong…Port of the Dalles, next exit. Scooches eastward on the map to check out the area around The Dalles.


And there’s Snipe St (says Snipe Ave on the sign though) and W 7th and the Columbia Cinemas. 🙂


2.8 meters off. That’s more like it. 🙂

Fact Time!

The Dalles has to be the first place I’ve geoguessed that I’ve actually been to, or at least, passed through. I’ve driven within a mile or two of our pin, if I’m right. (Well, my mother drove actually. It was a trip to Portland and we drove along the Columbia River.)

The Dalles refers to a series of rapids on the river that required the mostly French fur companies of the time to stop and transship their fur goods. Sometimes people would try to shoot the rapids but they didn’t fare so well. If you’ve played The Oregon Trail, you might recall the part where you have to go down the river and dodge rocks? That’s THIS part right here.


Week 7, Round 3: Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

First Impression: I kinda doubt Carmen is here because she likes to trot off with large monuments and this looks more like we’re in an arid landscape. My first guesses are Australia and then Southern California (beyond the coast) and then…South America. There’s a curled metal end of guard rail and some fencing so this doesn’t feel European to me. (Is the metal rail Jersey rail or is that some other kind of rail? It might be useful for me to know and synthesise these small details.)


Looking around: Did I say California? Because this looks pretty damn Californian to me. I know other places in the world run windfarms, but seriously, this reminds me so much of stretches along the 5 or out by Bakersfield. Also, there seem to be planted rows of trees. Much like California. (And finally, California was my second guess, and if the previous two days were much to go on, my second guess is more accurate than my first.)

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Haha! Nope. Somewhere Spanish speaking, where it’s the predominant language. (California could still count, but neither San Basilio or Goni are in California.) So we could be in Mexico or Spain. (Spain is sprining to mind because I swear I’ve seen Goni on a map before. Also the signs are now in meters and kilometers.)


And as we travel further, I see we step through a time warp of some kind. Everything got super green and the wind mills disappeared. Did we go forward or backward in time. I’m inclined to think forward as the picture quality seems to have improved too. Were we in a drier season then too? Summer vs. early spring?

Seriously the hills and the cloud shadows got super lush and picturesque. I am puzzled as to why the windmills went away. I thought that was the power of the future.


And the town we came from is called Siurgus and Donigala.

More countryside.


Goni and Lago Malurgia (?) lie to the east, while Silius lies to the south.


SP23 and 14. Highway and kilometer marker? Or just highway number? I should continue on and see if it goes up or down or stays the same.


A flock of goats. Goating it up on the hillside.


And the number went up while the bottom number stayed the same. If I wanted to be really thorough I could just go back to the zero point on this road, which would almost certainly end in a junction, but that seems extreme. I’ll see if I can give Spain’s highways a once over for SP23.


So. Spain’s smaller highways seem to have prefixes that match their province name. The Extremadura highways have an EX while Castile La Mancha has CM. I’m going to go looking for a province or region that matches SP. It’s a bit hard, because labelling of provinces and states and territories is sometimes nice and big and sometimes hard to find. Usually I have to go hunting for dotted lines on the map.

And…no luck so far. Maybe when I home in on the region some more.

Tempted to go back to the start and head towards San Basilio to see if we can find more info. It’s entirely possible we’re not in Spain but I really think the names look Spanish and not Portuguese or Italian. We could be in Mexico. Should I check there? Naw, I think I’ll wait and gather more info.

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I’m rethinking the Italian bit since San Basilio has a carabinieri. (Police Station, I think.) And maybe Goni sounded more Italian than Spanish now that I think about it. Re-opening map. I wonder if Italy does the same prefix scheme that Spain does.


Doesn’t seem so. I found SP prefix highways in both Piedmont and Lombardy regions. Oh well. And there are a lot of tiny byways and highways and whatnot.

I’m now headed towards a town (I think) called Cagliari. Hopefully, I will run into another road of some import. I have 5 more kilometers on SP23 before we run into 0 and I’m hopeful of a junction.

I also feel like we’re in the interior, as nothing seems coastal.


Tiny town called Arixi.


And then we are in Senorbi, where I found a gas station.


And Sant’Andrea Frius. Not the best angle on these signs here, but I think I can find some more roads to look for. SS547 and the SS387 and the SS466. Okie dokie.


Sadly, even these roads aren’t springing to the eye. I wish Italy and Spain approximated their numbering systems to a grid or somefing but they don’t seem to, and SS123 could be far away from SS124.

I pass some cactus.


And what the heck? Signs for S. Basilio, Goni, and Ballao….have I gone in a circle? This makes me think I might be on an island. *goes to check islands off the mainland*

Oh, yup, there we are on Sardegna?


And now I’ve found Siurgus Donigala, Goni, San Basilio, Silius, and Ballao on the map.


Guessed and got 60 m off. Pretty good!


Education time!

Sardinia, or Sardegna, is the second largest island in the Mediterranean, second only to Sicily. To the north lies Corsica, which is French. Cagliari is its capital. It has eight provinces of its own and its own indigenous language: Sardinian. Four other minority languages and Italian all enjoy status among its people. It’s geoformation is very old, and this means it is less active than Italy or other parts of the Mediterranean in terms of earthquakes. My brain is all, “It’s the Kauai of Italy.”

Week 7, Round 2: The Case of the Confusing Pillar

First impressions: I jokingly asked my husband where we were, because I know he’ll say Canada. (And he dutifully did.) But I actually think we could be in Canada, and if I was gonna push it further, the eastern provinces, maybe near Montreal or the St. Lawrence river. My reasons are weird and specious, but they go like this: The weird post in the middle of the screen is not something I recall seeing anything much of in the US. And there’s brick on the ground. So older, but not super old. The trees look like they belong in a temperate clime, but there’ s a needled tree mixed in with those deciduous. And the house or building in the distance looks long and flatter, instead of squashed up like European houses, although it is hard to see through the trees. The utility box by the pole also feels more North American to me. (The weird little ingress with the brick and pickets could be North American OR somewhere in England, I admit.)


Looking around: Sometimes I think I should go with my second impressions. Now I REALLY think we’re in Europe. Houses up close to the tiny road and the cute little fences. Damn, they give it away. Anyway, last round, my second guess was Japan, and look, it was.

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I’m guessing Poland at the moment. That seems to be phonemically in line with Polish. What do you think?


Even though the license plate is blurred out because of Google privacy issues, I wanted to point out the shape and proportions of it. It’s longer and skinnier than North American license plates.

Glimpsing between the houses, I can see somebody’s laundry out for drying.


Here’s a roadside shrine to what seems to be the Virgin Mary, judging by the small figure at the back.


I think (and am even more inclined to say Poland) that this is a convenience store with an apothecary/chemist. I’ll check for it as a landmark once we figure out the country and town.


One of the things I loooove about certain middle European countries is their township signs. They have a closing slash on the signs as you leave, like closing a markup tag. We are leaving Gardna Mata and entering another little hamlet, Gardna Wlk.



Have I ever mentioned how much I adore the boxy European buses? Because I kinda totally do. (I had a boxy black and yellow Tonka truck–well, it was my brothers, because I grew up in a benighted era where girls weren’t given trucks to play with, but I was older so I played with it anyway. And things that remind me of that, I’m very nostalgically inclined to.)


I think the sign on the bus says Szkodny. Which might be the larger urban or regional area name? One can hope.

More local landmarks: Oberza. And a church of some kind.


These are the times when I wish we really could just enhance, enhance, enhance. Because the bus stop or placard by the church seems to have a map of the region. It’d be sooooo useful if I could see it closer.


Another hamlet to triangulate from: Stojcino.


I leave Gardna Wlk behind and head for the open countryside hoping that we’ll run into a larger road or a larger town.


I find a sign for the Slowinski National Park. Hrm. Maybe I should see if I can see THAT on the map.

Miraculously, I can. Poland’s national parks are labelled on the map, and while it has about twenty or so obviously large ones, I only hit about half that before finding Slwinsky Park on the upper coast. Which, come to think of it, matches the vague Monet impression of a map I had from that previous shot. There was water up top there too.


Looks like Gardna Wlk was short for Gardna Wielka. And oh, look, Gardna Mata!


I even found Oberza as I started zooming in! Whee.

Now I’m gonna hop back to the start so I can figure out where in Gardna Mata I am. 🙂

We are pretty close to Wysoka, closer than we were to Gardna Wielka, so I think I’ve roughly figure out where we are. Pinning and making my guess.


219 m. Bah. I mean, it’s still pretty good, all things considered, but I’m still hoping to get a perfect score again some time. 🙂


Education Time!

Beyond these sleepy little villages lie the Slowinski National Park, so helpful in helping us find Gardna Mata. You may have noticed there was a seagull on the Slowinski Park sign and the reason is because the park is the home to moving sand dunes on a Baltic bay. As the dunes appear to move over time, it looks like some of the local lakes, like Gardno, used to be part of the bay.

Week 7, Round 1: Large Leafy Borders

First impression: The large leafy plants here on the border of this yard caught my eye. The foliage seems to have a tropical feel to it, leading me to think of South America. The houses and buildings seem to be a bit older, but with plastered walls and I have a faint sense of being in the industrial part of town. The smidge of street sign post I can see at the farthest right looks like the angle and shape of sign posts I’ve seen in both South America and Japan. It’s possible that we could be in Japan too, but the foliage is making me think South America.


Looking around: There’s a handy couple of signs off to the east, so I’ll likely be heading that direction first. The cars are too distant for me to get much more of an impression, but they don’t feel European to me. (Must be the narrower license plate.)


Looking west: We might be in an Asian country after all, as there seem to be symbols I don’t recognise on the Renault sign. More handy signs. Hopefully triangulating this won’t be hard.


I head east and turn around to look at the first sign. So we’re in Japan on the 273. Kamikawa and Takinoue lie to the west.


And east lies Abashiri, Tokoro, and Yubetsu on the 238.

Well, I think I have more than enough to triangulate from but I’m slightly disappointed. Should I look around just to look around?

I think I will go and take a look at the countryside before triangulating.

As it turns out, we seem to be on the outskirts of a larger town area. The road reminds me of roads I’ve seen on the outskirts of say, Puyallup, WA, but the road markings are different. I find it interesting how familiar some of this looks while looking different at the same time. 🙂 The terrain seems to be pretty flat around these parts of Japan.


I do think I should maybe start triangulating though, and I crack open the map.

Since I pretty much always end up on Hokkaido when I visit Japan, it seems like a good place to start, and sure enough, there’s a junction between 238 and 273 in a coastal town called Monbetsu that is east of Kamikawa and Takinoue.


And since the buildings are visible on the map, it’s a matter of me counting back from the intersection and dropping the pin.


Let’s see if my guess was right.


7.2 meters. Woot! I admit to feeling vaguely disappointed that I didn’t get closer, seeing as how I used the buildings to count back, but I didn’t reckon on the width of the roadway. Still, not bad.

Edjumacation Time!
Monbetsu is located of the Sea of Okhotsk and is famous for its crab! Apparently this crab is the best crab in Japan. It is also famous for its drift ice and has facilities for viewing the drift ice. You know those movie scenes where there’s seas full of tiny floating ice bits. Apparently, that’s drift ice. They also have special ice-breaker boats that do tourist cruises along the local cliffs.

Week 6, Round 5: A Metal Coffin

First impressions: I’m inclined to say we’re in Europe and for two reasons: The pitch and angle and construction of the roof seems distinctly un-North American, and there is a little balcony peeking out of the top floor. All the other roofs also seem to be high pitched ones.

However, the grass has that parched look, so I am not yet sure if I want to try nailing it down. Also there is a metal coffin thingie lying about which I feel is probably a trough of some kind. Let’s go with Poland, rural, for the hell of it.


Looking around: Still feeling a Euro vibe to the house construction. The fenced-in yards that come right up to the narrow roadway has that back country European feel.


The backyard looks rather like the backyard in my German Worterbuch with all the pictures illustrating the vocabulary. It even has the little greenhouse and a wheelbarrow with flowers.


And another greenhouse!


I feel like I need to keep a journal of these signs that I should refer to when I figure them out…ie. what they mean and which country or regions use them.


Okay, we are entering Keila vald and leaving Harku vald and/or Turisalu. None of this sounds Polish but I’m wondering if it’s Latvian or Lithuianian or Finnish. These phonemes are not super familiar to me. And the crest is…also a mystery.

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Oh, this might be easier than I though. Tallinn, I recognise. Capital of Estonia, I believe!


And zooming in, I see Keila on the map as well.


Zooming in further until I find the Turisalu area that is between the indicated Estonian towns, and then I trace the road back roughly counting turns. (When I zoom in a lot on the GeoGuessr map, houses come up, so I think I’m pretty good.)


BOOYEAH. 0.8 meters. That’s basically me being about 2 feet off. I’m further away from my husband in my office than I am on the map.

Feeling pretty swag about this game. So close to a perfect round. Darn it, Australia.

It feels like the theme for this week has included multiple tragedies. Apparently Turisalu is known for its cliff where people commit suicide. Okay then.

This week: 2 drownings, 1 suicide cliff…and then the Shetland Islands and a sunny city in Brasil. Mixed bag then. 60 percent tragedy. I feel kinda weird about this week’s educational facts.

Week 6, Round 4: Easy Rider

First Impressions: I’ve decided I’m somewhere in the northern British Isles. My reasoning is thus: There’s a motorcycle rider apparently coming up behind me, which means we’re on opposite side of the road time. The weird combination of hilliness and flatness that I see in this screen reminds me slightly of the time I spent in the Shetlands (in Geoguessr, natch). The markings in the road proportionately feel European to me. And that red van or truck in the back has the sort of boxy Euro feel.


Looking around: Still reminds me of my time in the Shetlands. Also the clouds feel weirdly low. I see a sign, which I will probably make straight for.


Heading southwards: Turning around and looking at the sign. HOLY CRAP. Are we in the Shetlands again? Look at that sign. If we are in the Shetlands, I get ALL THE POINTS for guessing so early. (I took so many pics last time.)


And apparently just to our west (from our starting screen) there was this sign. I think we may triangulate this pretty darn quick.


Alrighty, making my guess.


Finished with 9.6 m.


Okay, so THAT was ridiculous. Seriously. I think this is the closest Geoguessr has ever dumped me to a place I’ve previously been. Basically a few months back (I think) but definitely before I started the blog, I went to the island of Yell, the next island up in the chain.

I went to see if I had any pictures of from when I was on Yell, but I guess I don’t. What was I thinking? Well, I can go to the island in Google Maps and take a quick screenshot or two so you can see why I thought of the Shetlands first thing:

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This is Otterswick, Yell, UK. You can see why I thought of the Shetlands right away, right?

Anyway, I think this marks the FIRST TIME in this history of this blog that I not only got the country but also the immediate vicinity with my First Impressions guess. I’ve gotten Australia but it’s so big, it was bound to happen. And Sweden is a dead give away half the time, what with their red houses with white trim. But I feel really proud of this one.