Painted Churches tours

Rolling home under a brilliant full moon, faithful Robin at the wheel, strobe lights sparkling in the van and our passengers clapping and singing along to a CD of 60s music. What could be better? Let the other tour companies equal that! (And OMG, just wait for the Santa Anna picnic at SanJacinto on April 23rd)

Our little Historic Tours has at last begun to take off AC(After Covid). For the last two days, we’ve taken groups to visit themagnificent Painted Churches of Schulenburg. We begin the day early, picking upour guests in Livingston or Conroe, serving hot coffee or iced down bottles ofwater with sliced apple or zucchini bread. They all know each other since theyare neighbors or friends which makes for a delightful, chatty day in the van.

Can you imagine ten to twelve adults listening to a historylecture for hours on end as we roll across the countryside? True, it helps passthe time, but they not only listen, they blossom with pleasure or sink intodismay as they become the historical characters they are hearing about. Kingsand queens, rebel leaders, Caddo or Comanche or Apache, Napoleon or Sam Houstonor Stephen F. Austin. They revel with pride at their characters, learning Texashistory as we cross the Brazos and the Colorado and see history unroll in thecountryside around us. Even the Texas natives learn things they didn’t know,but for the “furriners,” whether from California or Illinois, it is aneye-opening revelation.  

Arriving in Schulenburg, after a “necessary” break inNavasota, we pick up our Chamber of Commerce guide and pay our fee. The moneygoes to keep the churches operating so we pay it willingly. The guides climbaboard and at each church they take us in and provide detailed explanations.They regale us with stories about the churches, when they were built, thestruggles the early settlers went through, what the different saints andfigures represent and something about the Catholic religion. Each church has a differentcolor, design, and decoration. Each more lovely than the last. It’s truly aweinspiring to see the Gothic arches in gold or blue or pink with intricately anddelicately painted ceilings and walls, glowing stained-glass windows, magnificentCzech or German altars and carved and painted wooden figures of saints and theHoly Family. Over one arch “I delight in being with my human children.” Truly,we do.

We break for lunch after one church and head for MajekWinery. The owner offers a special lunch for us with a four-flight wine tastingof their dry or sweet wines followed by a tuna croissant sandwich and a fruitcup with an additional glass of wine. The land has been in the Majek familysince the 1800s, and the winery has been in existence for nearly twenty years.It is Czech owned and is already winning awards with its wines-- a silver,losing the gold only to a German Riesling. It is always worth their while to openfor us since we come home with numerous bottles of those award-winning wines.  

We finish the day, dropping off the guide at the Chamber ofCommerce with a generous thank you. Then we head for Weikel’s Kolache bakery inLa Grange. Coffee and every conceivable kind of pastry to eat and take home toenvious family member. Kolaches, by the way, are ALWAYS fruit filled. Thesausage ones are not Kolaches at all but “klobasnek” or Klobasneeke, often mispronouncedas “kolbase.” They are a Texas version of pigs in a blanket created in the townof West at The Village Bakery in 1953!

Wedon’t normally come home in the dark, but this time we had accidentally addedan extra hour to the trip. So, with a full moon, full tummies and good company,we put in the 60’s music, cranked up the CD player and turned on the sparkling strobelights to dance and sing our way home. I don’t think anyone got up to use thestripper pole, but what happens on the bus stays on the bus, so I know nothing!

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