Blog, Expat Life, Travel

Overwhelmed By Beauty…

May 7, 2017
Porto, Portugal

“I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travels sake. The great affair is to move.”
– Robert Louis Stevenson

This photo, an accidental double exposure, depicts how I feel on a sunny, warm afternoon in Porto, Portugal. I’m seeing double from taking in the beauty of this city. After going to the Joan MirĂ³ exhibit at the Serralves Mysuem this morning I have self-diagnosed myself as having come down with Stendhal Syndrome.

I first learned about Stendhal Syndrome when I was in Florence, Italy. In 1817 the French author, Stendhal, wrote a book called, Naples and Florence: A Journey from Milan to Reggio. He shared his experience with the syndrome when he collapsed outside the Church of Santa Croce after being overwhelmed by its beauty.

Stendal described the dizziness, temporary amnesia and disorientation he experienced when faced with too much beauty in a short span of time. When tourists were exposed to particularly beautiful paintings, sculptures or architecture, the body and mind were no longer able to absorb all it was seeing.

Florence in particular was known to drive tourists out of their mind and doctors there treat many cases of Stendhal Syndrome a year.

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