Mystery photos: Where in the world is SDG?

by SDG

in Travel

Actually, where I am isn't a mystery — I'm back, and said so in a combox yesterday. So the question is, where have I been for the last week?

To answer that, let's play mystery photos! And to keep things fun, let's adjust the rules a little.

Below are two photos of me in two different locations, both taken with my iPhone by passing strangers. I should think the second location will more likely be recognized by JA.o readers than the first, but in any case, if you flat-out know the location in either photo, don't spoil it right away by identifying it in the combox. Just say "I know where photo B was taken" or "I know where you are in both shots." (Honor system! If you say you know, you get credit.)

If you don't know the location in one or both photos, feel free to offer whatever guesses or insights you may have (e.g., "The large figure(s) in photo [X] might be/is clearly…" or "The background in photo B suggests that…").

Two small hints. I already gave one (the second location will more likely be recognized by JA.o readers than the first). Here's another: Many JA.o readers will know specifics about my faith journey that resonate in an interesting way with the locations of the two photos, shown below in chronological order. (I said they were small hints!)

Next week, I'll post more about my trip.

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{ 33 comments }

B.K. Dolan February 20, 2009 at 3:44 am

Photo B yes. Photo A?

Barbara February 20, 2009 at 7:05 am

Knowing what I do about your previous denomination, I can guess who the people in photo A are, but where, I can only surmise what the country is.
Photo B looks similar to a church in Rome, but when I googled it, it’s not the same.

Gary Keith Chesterton February 20, 2009 at 7:29 am

Photo A was taken in the city where my spiritual master, St. Francis de Sales, was not permitted to enter, despite his being the bishop.

Matheus February 20, 2009 at 7:31 am

No idea whatsoever. B looks like it’s in Rome, but seems too plain…
Welcome back, SDG. (Did you go alone on trip? Was it professional?)

SDG February 20, 2009 at 7:47 am

Barbara:

Knowing what I do about your previous denomination, I can guess who the people in photo A are, but where, I can only surmise what the country is.

You can be explicit about inferences and partial information, as long as it doesn’t give everything away. I just don’t want people right away saying “Photo B was taken at church X in city Y.” Bragging points for them, but no fun for anyone else. But if you know (or think you know) who the statues are, that’s fair game.

Photo B looks similar to a church in Rome, but when I googled it, it’s not the same.

Of course a lot of churches have similar features … can I ask what church you were thinking of?
Gary Keith Chesterton:

Photo A was taken in the city where my spiritual master, St. Francis de Sales, was not permitted to enter, despite his being the bishop.

Ooo, an esoteric clue! Yes, I love St. Francis de Sales for his work in this area.
Matheus:

No idea whatsoever. B looks like it’s in Rome, but seems too plain…

It’s a glorious building. I’ll post more pictures later.

Welcome back, SDG. (Did you go alone on trip? Was it professional?)

(a) Thanks! (b) Alas, yes. Especially with a three-month-old, there was no question of Suz coming with. (c) Yes, substantially, though I made time to do quite a bit on my own also, about which more later.

Matheus February 20, 2009 at 8:13 am

Yes, substantially, though I made time to do quite a bit on my own also, about which more later.

Was it related to consulting work for a movie? (I hope it was not for Angels and Demons :)

SDG February 20, 2009 at 8:32 am

Was it related to consulting work for a movie? (I hope it was not for Angels and Demons :)

It was movie related, but not consulting work. I’ve never been asked to do anything like that, although I think I would have good ideas — but you’re right, I would certainly never do consulting work for a project like Angels & Demons. (Of course there are other things I would do in connection such a project.)

Bill February 20, 2009 at 9:13 am

I’m unaware to photo B.
But photo A? Heck, I’ve got pictures of it myself. Actually I’d head to the church just a couple blocks north (?) of it and pay the nominal fee to head up to the steeple. The view from there is spectacular!

Barbara February 20, 2009 at 11:10 am

Of course a lot of churches have similar features … can I ask what church you were thinking of?
The Bascilica of Cosmos and Damian.
http://www.sacred-destinations.com/italy/rome-santi-cosma-e-damiano-pictures/eos_188p.jpg

SDG February 20, 2009 at 11:23 am

I’m unaware to photo B.

But photo A? Heck, I’ve got pictures of it myself. Actually I’d head to the church just a couple blocks north (?) of it and pay the nominal fee to head up to the steeple. The view from there is spectacular!

Um. Are you sure you’ve got A and B straight?
There is a rather obvious church north and west of the location in photo B (more than a couple of blocks, maybe a dozen-odd subway stops actually) with a spectacular view that I did in fact climb to see. I’m not sure what church you would be thinking of north of the location in photo A.

SDG February 20, 2009 at 11:27 am

The Bascilica of Cosmos and Damian.

Ah. No, it’s not that, but I’ll confirm that it is a basilica (and one more prominent than Cosmos and Damian).

bill912 February 20, 2009 at 12:40 pm

Given the size of the statue of St. Peter in the second photo, and, given that you said it’s in a basilica, I think I can guess where that photo was taken.

Gary Keith Chesterton February 20, 2009 at 12:43 pm

There is a rather obvious church north and west of the location in photo B
I’ll say it’s obvious. :^)
Photo B was taken at a place where someone important is buried. Someone who’s having quite a year.

SDG February 20, 2009 at 12:56 pm

bill912: Sounds like you’ve got the right locale, but I think you may be technically in the wrong city and even in the wrong country. :-) (It’s not the Basilica of St. Peter. This basilica is named after another individual whose equally impressive statue appears on the opposing side of the nave.)
Looks like GKC is the first to correctly identify both locations — and to, um, cryptically telegraph his identifications.
So what city am I in? Any more guesses/insights before GKC turns his cards face up?

Bill February 20, 2009 at 1:11 pm

In an attempt to be more specific – yet more cryptic – in my understanding of Photo A… four blocks north, one block east… to the church I was thinking of. It’s a “Cathedral”, though not a Catholic one.
(that and I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t completely mistaken in where I thought you were!)

Gary Keith Chesterton February 20, 2009 at 1:21 pm

Oh, I’ll show you “cryptic.”
Two of the figures in Photo A are a hyperactive little boy with an imaginary pet tiger who is drinking a hot cup of … gelatin.

SDG February 20, 2009 at 1:26 pm

GKC, do you know what non-Catholic cathedral Bill is thinking of?
Uh, anyone have any idea what flavor gelatin GKC is thinking of? (No, actually, I get it, at least partially. Also, one of the figures in photo A has a tongue that isn’t quick or slick, sir.)
Okay: Embargo is over. Anyone who wants to can say where they think I am in either or both pics.

Bill February 20, 2009 at 1:39 pm

That’s Crazy… allowing largely veiled, incomprehensible notes.
(okay, I’m stretching)

SDG February 20, 2009 at 1:41 pm

Everything is allowed now. Embargo’s over. Where am I?

Bill February 20, 2009 at 1:43 pm

I was referring to Cathedral of St Pierre in Geneva… just a couple blocks north of the Reformation Wall in Geneva. :)

Matheus February 20, 2009 at 1:49 pm

Suspense…

SDG February 20, 2009 at 1:53 pm

I was referring to Cathedral of St Pierre in Geneva… just a couple blocks north of the Reformation Wall in Geneva.

You’ve seen more of Geneva than I have — although while you may have gotten a better view from high up than I did, I bet I got a better view from deep down. :-) (More next week.)
So yes, in photo A I’m in front of the Reformation Wall in the Parc des Bastions in Geneva, Switzerland, home base of John Calvin, founder of Calvinism, the religious tradition to which my family belonged for four centuries and in which my father was an ordained minister.
And the second?

Leo February 20, 2009 at 1:59 pm

Thanks. Good fun.
I even corrected my erroneous belief that my favourite spirituous drink came from Geneva.
B. St Pauls outside the Walls Rome?

Matheus February 20, 2009 at 2:12 pm

Have you heard of this SDG?
What would be your list? I’m still thinking…

SDG February 20, 2009 at 2:25 pm

B. St Pauls outside the Walls Rome?

Correct!
In the last week or so I visited both Geneva to Rome, in that order, thereby recapitulating my spiritual journey from the Reformed tradition to Catholicism. (Not that I was ever very Reformed myself, but that was my childhood milieu.)
To highlight the significance of my journey, I posed for pictures by the Reformation Wall statues of the Reformers, Beza, Calvin, Farel and Knox in Geneva, and St. Peter in Rome. (I tried a few different St. Peter statues, but this photo came out the best.)
Calvin, of course, is the hyperactive little boy with the imaginary tiger. Knox has a tongue that isn’t quick or slick, sir (from Dr. Seuss’s Fox in Socks). GKC, what the heck is up with the gelatin?
Next week: Why I went to Geneva and Rome, what I did there, and why I got a better view deep down than Bill. (Though feel free to offer guesses on this front! Hint: The combox comments already touch on the occasion for my trip.)
Matheus: I don’t have a complete top 10, but I have an indefinite pool of finalists. :-) No, I hadn’t seen that before.

Leo February 20, 2009 at 2:38 pm

I was amused by the irony (chutzpa?) of Calvin’s chair (cathedra?) in St Peters Cathedral Geneva scroll to bottom.

Matheus February 20, 2009 at 2:54 pm

St Pauls outside the Walls…

So it was in Rome indeed…I had thought of something more exotic.
Now I have no idea regarding the reason for the trip…You aready said it was movie related and not consulting…
I could guess…Perhaps you’ve been hired to adapt your own unpublished children book to the screen and were scouting locations, or looking for “local color”…

I don’t have a complete top 10, but I have an indefinite pool of finalists.

I don’t have one either (and as matter of fact, the very idea seems stupid to me). I think that what I like in those polls is the possibility of doing justice to movies that are underrated in my opinion. For example, I liked that AFI best Scripts List that came out a couple of years ago because I was able to see Witness and Groundhog Day on it. But then they left The Lady Vanishes out.
Since from what I could gather, this one list is to be made from both a Catholic and artistic point of view, I was at first very enthusiastic about the opportunity…
But then, the enthusiasm quickly went away when I realised that I haven’t seen enough movies to be able to cast a truly informed vote. I’m sure that Jean Renoir and Andrei Tarkovsky would deserve to have movies on my list (not sure if you would agree)…but I haven’t seen any of their movies.
Let me ask again: Would you have one (or more) list that you think could fit the proposal? Or is this “Top 10 List” thing just garbage?

Gary Keith Chesterton February 20, 2009 at 6:54 pm

Knox brand gelatin, of course!

Mary February 20, 2009 at 8:10 pm

In both picture, where you are is — in front of statues.
0:)

Hans February 20, 2009 at 8:57 pm

Well, I had no idea of the first one, but before I looked at the comments, I guessed St. Paul’s Outside the Wall (I’m not sure why, exactly; it’s not as though I’ve been there, I just couldn’t think of anything else), but when I found this impressive 360° view of it, I talked myself out of it.

Matheus February 21, 2009 at 4:49 am

That’s mesmerizing Hans; thanks for the link. A professional photo and another of the same subject taken with a cell phone may have some differences, indeed.

SDG February 21, 2009 at 7:00 am

Well, I had no idea of the first one, but before I looked at the comments, I guessed St. Paul’s Outside the Wall (I’m not sure why, exactly; it’s not as though I’ve been there, I just couldn’t think of anything else), but when I found this impressive 360° view of it, I talked myself out of it.

Wow. Um, yeah, that’s it. Of course you can’t maneuver the viewer to be in front of the statue where I was, but you can see that the statue is holding the same pose. Unfortunately from the 360° view the baldochin obscures the central Christ figure in the dome icon, and in my view a pillar blocks part of the image, so you can’t really see that they’re the same image.

Knox brand gelatin, of course!

Ah. Never heard of it. To me Knox is the beleaguered straight man in Fox in Socks. “Mister Fox, sir! I won’t do it. I can’t say it. I won’t chew it.”

Would you have one (or more) list that you think could fit the proposal? Or is this “Top 10 List” thing just garbage?

No, lists aren’t garbage — if I thought that, I wouldn’t do a top 10 list every year. I’m not a big fan of ranking lists (who cares whether something is 5 or 6?), but I like lists.
I could put together a list of finalists for my own ultimate, eventual top 10. Maybe I’ll do a post on that soon.

Hans February 21, 2009 at 7:35 pm

Wow. Um, yeah, that’s it. Of course you can’t maneuver the viewer to be in front of the statue where I was, but you can see that the statue is holding the same pose. Unfortunately from the 360° view the baldochin obscures the central Christ figure in the dome icon, and in my view a pillar blocks part of the image, so you can’t really see that they’re the same image.
So the baldachin (which my dictionary says derives from the Italian word for ‘Baghdad’, ‘Baldacco’) is well forward of the apse, then? I thought, from the large picture I linked to, that it would be much closer, perhaps part of the small columned seen below the central Christ figure in the apse. So I couldn’t figure out how it could be in one picture and not in the other. Hans begins to understand.
Knox gelatin always came in orange boxes. (I worked in a grocery store in high school.)
Matheus, if you’re interested, the Louvre also has such 360° views.

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