Sulfur: odor of rotten eggs, matchhead, volcanoes, gunpowder, and Lucifer down there in Hell’s fire and brimstone.
Also the smell that pervades thermal spas. Along with minerals such as sodium chloride, iodine, and calcium, sulfur is a key component of manytherapeutic waters. Linked as it is with fire and corrosion, sulfur also has a storied association with the healing of numerous ailments, particularly respiratory and skin-related ones.
Coming down to Italy on the train from Belgium, some inspectors entered my cabin and started going through my things. They found a little packet of nutritious grasses, meant to be stirred into a glass of spring water and downed before a marathon. They said, “What is this?” I said, “Grass.” They looked at me strangely, but no Midnight Express ensued. In Florence (little like a flower, much like a hammer), I asked the shapely cappuccino-maker “Che ora tu liberatore?” which means, I found out later, not “What time are you free?” but either 1) nothing, or 2) “What time are you open?” Got a phrase book after two days of smiling and pointing. Now I speak long sentences which mean things that no one understands. Slept in a decaying vineyard first night out of Florence. Put on four pairs of pants, eight shirts, underwear over my ears. Should have brought a sleeping bag but figured I’d have a girlfriend. When I arrived in Siena, I found a field behind a condominium and slept there that night and for the next four nights. Got a bed in the Ostello della gioventu when the rain got serious. The beauty of this place would knock the stuffing out of an olive. A presto.