Chalkmarks Vulcano

VULCANO! How can it look so beautiful but smell so bad? I arrive on this island and think there’s a serious gas leak and it’s about to blow. The stink is powerful, and chemical – it’s so strong I think it might finish me off. It reeks of rotten eggs. That’s what it is.

It’s brutal. I’m not exaggerating. The whiff is coming up from the crusty, yellow rocks. This from a teeny-tiny Italian island in the Mediterranean that gave volcano its name. It hasn’t exploded since 1888 but it’s still spewing this smelly sulphur to the surface.

And then – there’s an even bigger surprise around the corner: a natural mud bath with people swimming in the pongy grey sludge. The fumes have clearly affected me because I jump in too.

I’m told not to stay in for long. To cover myself in the hot mud, lie out in the sun until it dries and cracks then take a shower. It leaves my skin incredibly soft.

The problem now is that while I look 20 years younger I smell like I’m already dead!

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