Okay, you’ve worked hard all year. Your dental practice can keep running without you for a couple of weeks while you recharge your battery. But where?
If you compare vacation lists, you’ll likely find very little in common. They all sound wonderful in one respect or another. This year, our theme is “exotic” and “mythical.” At the following locations, you’ll enter another world, touch a piece of history, or both.
If the legend is correct, then Georgians may have invented wine as much as 8,000 years ago. Their quaint capital is rich in heritage, visual appeal and mythical wonder. Georgia was the destination of Jason and his Argonauts when they were out and about to steal the Golden Fleece. At the far, eastern end of the Black Sea and nestled against the Caucasus mountains, Georgia was not only home to the Golden Fleece, but also the golden dragon which guarded it. This was where strong-willed, princess Medea met her future, Greek husband and helped him overcome the challenges posed by her father, the king. Georgia has beaches, mountains with ski lifts for winter fun, and lots more eye appeal in a country known for its grand beauty. Georgians speak a language which has affinities with Basque in northern Spain. In fact, Georgia and Spain once shared the name “Iberia.”
San Sebastián, Spain (Basque Country)
Nestled near the border to France, overlooking the Bay of Biscay and not far from the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains, San Sebastián provides numerous opportunities to savor this Old World charm and otherworldly beauty. La Concha Bay provides enough visual splendor all by itself, but don’t linger too long. There’s much more to explore in this corner of Europe touched by antiquity. Not far to the north are the caves where modern, Cro Magnon man painted the walls as much as 40,000 years ago. The Basques speak an agglutinative language with vague similarities to Georgian. Seafood is especially good here. Some of the place names may look strange. One of the easiest peculiarities to solve is the “tx” sound, which is just like “ch.” For instance, the town of Getxo, in the Greater Bilbao metropolitan area, is pronounced, “GAY-cho.”
People have lived continuously in Cádiz longer than any other city in Western Europe. This elegant Spanish city started out as a Phoenician outpost as much as 3,100 years ago. Cádiz, in Andalusia, is not far from Gibraltar, to the South, and, across the strait, from Morocco and Africa. A short distance to the North resides the town of Palos de la Frontera, from where Christopher Columbus launched his legendary voyage of discovery in 1492. Besides its charming architecture, the city has a unique connection to the myth of Plato’s Atlantis. This region, once called Gadira, was said to have faced the legendary lost island roughly 11,600 years ago.
Nothing says “tropical beaches” quite like the Bahamas. At less than a hundred miles east of Miami, Florida, the Bimini Islands, full of relaxing, seaside splendor, attract frequent visits from the mainland. Besides the nightlife, snorkeling and beachcombing, Bimini offers its own unique touch with the past. The “Bimini Road” or “Bimini Wall” was discovered in 1968. This structure, made of natural beach rock, was fashioned in a linear, straight-edged shape nearly a kilometer long. Some experts have compared this to artificial breakwaters built in the Mediterranean and found them to be similar. The first survey of the component beachrock found the stones to have been moved into position, likely by humans, because the orientation of many of the beachrock stones is no longer naturally facing the waves that formed them. Some researchers have speculated that the breakwater was evidence of one of the colonies of Atlantis, mentioned by Plato in his Timaeus and Critias dialogues.
Ponta Delgada, Azores
Subtropical splendor with rolling green pastures, immaculate beaches and towering mountains kissed with pristine lakes. We’re talking about the Azores. Portuguese is spoken, here.
Ponta Delgada is the largest city in the Azores containing nearly 70,000 people, and possessing nearby Marina Pêro de Teive which handles recreational boating. Twenty kilometers to the northwest stands the Sete Cidades Massif with its Blue and Green Lakes and a serenely breathtaking panorama of meadows and woodlands nestled in an ancient crater. A little over twenty kilometers to the west stands another mountain wonder—Lagoa do Fogo (Lake of Fire).
According to researchers R. Cedric Leonard and Rod Martin, Jr., the Azores may have been the tall mountains of Atlantis, mentioned by Plato. The legendary island was said to have stretched from here all the way along the Africa-Eurasia tectonic boundary to face Gadira (Cádiz) in southern Spain.