A taste of Prague in Texas
On our way to Austin, we spotted a billboard that said Schulenburg, TX: Home of the Painted Churches! We were traveling to Prague soon, and, coincidentally, the original Czech settlers in the Hill Country had built these churches. So my mother suggested: Why not get a preview of Prague?
I was not a huge fan of this idea. I had traveled to far-off places such as Turkey and India – how could a small town be as exciting? But my mother insisted, so one weekend, we headed west to Schulenburg.
Schulenburg was charming, with cobblestone roads lined with quaint cafes and antique shops. The lady at the tourist center told us to visit the Painted Churches via the Piano Bridge. A vision of an ultramodern bridge with shiny obsidian and white metals formed in my head, but of course Piano Bridge was an old-fashioned iron bridge! Some locals said it was named after the musical tune it made when someone drove over it. Others claimed it was named because the bridge was made of the same metal as piano wire. I like the first story better!
The exterior of the first church in Dubina was a bit plain. But as we walked inside it was beyond mesmerizing. The golden candles illuminated the lofty ceilings and walls, bejeweled in religious portraits of all colors. I loved the beautiful aqua on the ceiling, my favorite color.
The next two churches, in Ammansville and High Hill, were just as breathtaking. The one in Ammansville had an altar with beautifully detailed figures of the saints towering to the delicate pink ceilings. The one in High Hill was the most regal; it boasted ornate ceilings and shining stained-glass windows. I tried taking pictures with my camera, but I felt as if these were pictures to be kept in my mind forever.
Driving back, I realized that you don’t need to travel to faraway places to have a wonderful experience. You never know what a place, big or small, will have in store for you.
P.S.: When we traveled to the Czech Republic, St. Barbara’s Church near Prague had many of the same paintings as the High Hill church. I found this amazing!
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