Saturday, April 18, 2009

Fountain of Youth

I was feelin' lots of aches & pains, the affects of aging, so I decided I needed to make a quick trip to the Fountain of Youth down near the middle of St Augustine. Deb grabbed her camera & out the door we headed.

Whew! I'm looking & feeling much better. Stuff really works. Shoulda seen me earlier.

For awhile I thought I was headed to the Indian burial grounds - like this guy. This is a picture from the burial grounds found on the site back in the 1930s.

The Fountain of Youth is a real place. Documents sent to the King of Spain pinpoint the location matching a marker placed in the gound designating its discovery in 1513

This is one of the fountains, but not where you get the 'go go juice' - that's inside, near some weak displays that should have been updated (or eliminated) long ago.

This is a statue of Ponce de Leon - During those days, life expectancy was typically 30 to 35 years. When old Ponce landed in St Augustine, he encountered the Timucua tribe. These people, the men & women, were all about 7 feet tall and lived, on average, for about 80 years, attributing their size & long life to the spring waters. Ponce was the tallest of his crew at 4' 11" and was already a shade past 30 at the time. So the little guy, after he claimed ownership of all lands for the King of Spain, (naming it 'La Florida', which covered most of the USA & part of Canada, up into Labrador) he loaded his ship with barrels of water from the spring that the Timacuans showed him. From that point on he used only the water from the spring for drinking, bathing, & food preparation. He lived to be 61, almost twice as long as most men in those days. He probably woulda lived longer. His death the result of a battle wound, an arrow to the thigh.

The Fountain of Youth is centered in a twenty acre park. Me n' Deb get in for free 'cause we're residents, but it's pretty inexpensive to visit. They have a small display at the spring itself where you get a dose of the magic springwater, then check out a small (& not so modern) planetarium that shows how Ponce & Chris Columbus navigated from there to here. This is followed by a visit to a big lighted spinning globe showing the travel routes for all of the major land discoveries from the late 15th & 16th centuries. Roaming throughout the park grounds are about 2 dozen peacocks. (They actually fly - I never knew that.) Haven't figured out their purpose, other than making guys like me wait around while my wife gets the 'perfect peacock pose'. I don't know how she does this. Looks more like a 'perfect peacock painting' to me.