Porto - Portugal - An Unexpected Tour of Cinema Batalha

We peered into the windows of the lobby of Cinema Batalha near the Church of Saint Ildefonso in Porto trying to catch a glimpse of this former gem of Art Deco architecture.  The place looked locked up tight so we turned to leave.  Suddenly, a gentleman appeared and spoke something incomprehensible.  We turned and told him we didn't speak Portuguese.  It turns out he was actually speaking French because there had been a lot of French speaking tourists in the vicinity of late and without a beat switched to English.  Luís invited us in and offered to show us around the cinema.
We gladly took him up on the offer...although I have to say I was a little nervous when he closed the door behind us and rebolted it with a padlock...  Our instinctive American paranoia and fear gave way to delight as Luís showed us around and told us about the cinema.  Some features had seen better days.  The paint was peeling and you could tell the building had been neglected for a long time.  Luís told us that the building was now being given a new lease on life as an exhibit, concert, and conference venue.
Cinema Batalha clearly had solid foundations and loving craftsmanship.  Luís pointed out the shiny metal rails...
...gilded accents...
...and solid wood detailing.
We felt like we were in a bit of a time capsule when we looked outside at the square.
We even spotted a glimpse of the Church of Saint Ildefonso through the glass.
I loved the space-aged star-shaped light fixtures dotting the ceiling.
This contrasted sharply with a classical sculpture stored in an out-of-the way nook.
Downstairs we admired the concession stand which had been converted into an art exhibit.
Neon lights added additional Art Deco atmosphere.
We loved the tour of the building but the thing that really made this visit special was meeting Luís.  We chatted for a good 30 minutes and learned a bit about him and his life in Portugal.  Luís told us his philosophy which really resonated with me:

-Do what you love
-Do it with passion
-The results will follow

I aspire to apply this in my own life.

Luís was currently involved in the campaign of one of Porto's political candidates.
Luís showed us out of the theatre just in time to watch a parade of supporters surroundings Luís' favored candidate.
I looked up and did a quick double-take...
Sure enough, the candidate himself was approaching the theatre for a political rally.  We made a quick exit, stage right, and continued on our way.
Lesson learned:  embrace the unexpected experiences that present themselves during your travels.  They are often the most memorable.

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: Porto - Portugal - An Unexpected Tour of Cinema Batalha
Porto - Portugal - An Unexpected Tour of Cinema Batalha
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