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Where in the World is the Best-Known Photo?


No, this isn't a TravelGumbo Where in the World puzzle, and to the surprise of many of us who always thought it was an artistic illustration, this is said to be the most-viewed photograph in history.

Yes, it's what you saw every time you booted a computer with Windows XP, in its time almost the default operating system world-wide. It turns out that Microsoft bought it from a stock photo supplier named Chuck O'Rear, who spotted the scene in 1996 while driving through California wine country.

O'Rear, who says that his first thought was "Yeah, OK. That's an OK picture." A few billion views later, it's only a picture; O'Rear says that within two years it had been planted over as a vineyard. But you can still travel (post-pandemic) to the picture Microsoft chose as the first lock-screen you see in Windows 10; that's at Wharariki Beach, New Zealand.

Wharekari Beach, New Zealand: A direct successor to Bliss.

It's a travel destination for real; the Sidney Morning Herald's travel section quotes the booking manager for Wharariki Beach Holiday Park: "When people query where [our campgrounds] are, I ask them have they seen the start-up picture on Windows 10 of a beach . . . yes . . . well that is the beach [a 20-minute] walk from our park."

But few photos are likely to become quite so recognizable from splash screens in the future; Microsoft has switched to serving a variety of stunning images of locations around the world. At first, they came with no information; now they come with clickable hints; clicking reveals the site.

So, while physical traffic is still restricted, you can sit at home and visit a variety of future destinations such as this:
Slovenia's Lake Bled.

Alright...Where in the World is this stunning island castle? Some Gumbo members will recognize it instantly!

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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