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The Hippopotamus Song

We went to San Pedro del Pinatar today which is a small town on the edge of the Mar Menor.

The Mar Menor, the Little Sea, is a hypersaline lagoon linked to the Mediterranean Sea only by a series of locks and weirs. It's shallow and warm and, particularly at it's northern end, it has a mud that people like to slart all over themselves for its therapeutic qualities. Apparently Hippocrates, the oath man, recommended mudbaths sometime between 460 and 337 BC and what's good enough for him is good enough for we Murcianos.

As if Hippocrates weren't sufficient a 1995 study by the University of Murcia "revealed" that the mud contains a high percentage of cations, anions, calcium, magnesium and potassium fluorides, chlorides and sulphates which can be absorbed by the skin to improve skin conditions like ulcers, boils, sores and acne. What's more it also eliminates toxins and reduces the inflammation caused by rheumatism, arthritis and gout. Good or what?

It's an interesting spot though and I was interested to discover that the short piers, used as access points to get into the water to bathe or to get to the mud are locally called balnearios which is the word normally associated with the more traditional sort of health spa resorts. I did find myself humming the old Flanders and Swann song though;

Mud, mud, glorious mud
Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood.
So follow me follow me, down to the hollow
And there we will wallow in glorious mud.


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