Community Classifieds

Community Classifieds and a park map are now posted at the end of the current page. Scroll all the way down to see the Classifieds and a map of Leisure World.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Kitchen Clean-up Crew

Summer President Beth Staton rounded up a few volunteers to help her give the kitchen a thorough cleaning before turning everything over to the Winter Board. They applied a lot of elbow grease and got the job done Friday afternoon! Beth is not shown in the pictures as she was the photographer
Nancy Flinton saw to it that the tray racks were as clean as
the trays!
Tony Antonacci found a large array of cutting boards needing his attention.

Alma Antonacci made the grill sparkle/

Rosie  Pacheco set her organizational skills to work
on the storeroom.

Bernie Reising polished off pots, pans, etc.

Bob Reising handled the high ground...including
the top of the refrigerator

And these two final photos show the neat, clean, organized shelves
awaiting their winter duties.

Our thanks go out to all these volunteers for their work on our behalf!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Lloyd Walker's "Bees"

Lloyd and Mary have a new decoration just outside the entrance to their park is a thriving nest which has been growing larger each day. Lloyd called in the "bee people" and they identified the insects as "Mexican Bees"...however, I differ with that opinion. With my trusty computer and Wikipedia I feel they are really "paper wasps'!  Note the narrow waist (bees are built more like me, one big lump from front to rear), the yellow stripe coloration, the nest construction. Whatever they are they are an unusual attraction for Lloyd and Mary's front door.  Stop by and see them.
Lloyd snuggles up to his new neighbors' home under construction.
A closer look at the nest.

Coming in close we can see a number of the "working" residents.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Leisure World Chapel: Joys and Concerns I

Former resident Marge Langer passed away October 10th, 2016. Funeral services were held in Fox Lake IL on Friday, October 14th.
Marge and Leon were residents of Leisure World for many years until selling their unit last March.
Leon,s address is:
7109 Lexington,
Fox Lake IL. 60020

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Budapest to Amesterdam River Cruise Part 1

Arrived Budapest about 3pm local time and were bussed to the boat. We were fagged out but had a nice dinner followed by an evening cruise up and down the river. An absolutely stunning city at night. On a city tour today.

We cruised down the Danube River and I was experimenting with night shots on my big camera. This one is of the Hungarian Parliament Building. It is difficult to get non blurry shots when you are moving but think this and several others turned out really well! Had a wonderful bus tour of the city today. It was fabulous. Lots of gorgeous old buildings here. Heroes square had magnificent column with a gold statue of Gabriel at the top.

Hungarian Parliment Building

Buda Castle

St.Matthias Cathedral Budapest

St.Matthais Stained Glass

Hungarian Parliment Building in Daylight

We had a wonderful bus tour of Vienna. It was in a motor coach so pictures in this beautiful city without reflexions were hard to come by. We did a short walking tour to the St Stevens Cathedral inside the Ring Blvd. Vienna was once a walled city but in the 1800s city fathers decided to remove the wall and put in streets where the wall once stood. Thus the term Ring Blvd. The cathedral is very large but quite gloomy inside with a dark brown look. The square in front of the Cathedral was filled with 3 & 4 hundred year old buildings. These were filled with top name brand stores and it felt like an outlet mall. We returned to the ship for lunch and then walked into the Prater Amusement Park. The  212 feet in diameter Ferris wheel here was constructed in 1896 and is the oldest working Ferris wheel in the world. There are tremendous views of the city from the top at 65 meters up. In the old city on the south side of the Danube no buildings can be higher than the towers on the Cathedral. However on the north side of the river are located several very modern high-rise buildings with unique architectural designs.
Wien Graben Pestsäule in Vienna, Austria

Oldest Ferris Wheel the the World in Vienna, 1897
Our trip today would take us through the Wachau valley. This is a world heritage site where vineyards are the most important wine making area of Austria. The hills are very steep but farmers have terraced the land to plant more grape vines. This is especially so on the north side of the river for the south facing slopes.. we finally arrive at a gorge guarded by  marvellous Aggsbach Dom castle high up on a rock. Shortly after we arrive at the village of Melk. This place hosts the Melk Abbey which is one of the largest in the world. Today there is only 39 monks but it is an active school with hundreds of students and hosts many visitors for seminars and presentations. It also boasts a nice museum with some articles going back to the first millennium. The Abbey is a 4 story H shaped building over 1,000 feet long with a large sweeping balcony overlooking the the small city of 5,000 population. Between the  legs of the H at one end is the chapel. 
Entrance to the Melk Abbey

Our next day will get us to Passau which is right on the German border. This city of 50,000 is at the point where two other rivers join the the Danube. The Ils flows in from the north and the Inn flows in from the south. The Inn flows in from the Alps and so is temperamental to say the least. It can rise 20 or 30 feet in an hour or two. At one point in 1994 it basically provided a water dam which blocked the Danube causing it to rise 11 meters (33 feet) over night. The city was unindated. This kind of flooding has occurred for centuries and so those houses in the lower areas do not use the lower floor or two for living. Some use them as a garage. Our walking tour took us  into the centre of town. Every little village has a Catholic Church and bigger towns like Passau have a monstrous Cathederal. In most towns and cities, building codes prevent the construction of buildings higher. Passau's St. Stephans Cathedral is very light inside with white and pastel colours and lots of light from outside. It also boasts having the second most pipes in it's organ at 17,974. It was the world's most until a Cathedral in Los Angeles surpassed it in 1990. We were treated to a fabulous half hour concert. The bass notes are so low and strong and the trebles so shrill and soft. Following the guided tour we had time to go wherever we wanted so we walked our knees sore.
Passau Cathedral Germany

17, 774 Pipes in the Organ

Passau to Regensburg is the narrowest and most dangerous part of the river. The river is the shallowest here and the bridges are the lowest. Our boat the Viking Modi was named after the Norse God Modi, son of Thor and God of Combat. It is 135 meters (433 ft) long and 11.5 meters (38 ft) wide. It has three decks and a sun deck on top. This sun deck has lawn chairs, shuffleboard, mini-golf, large awnings to provide shade, and also has the Bridge where the captain steers the boat. Because of the low bridges everything is folded flat and the Bridge is lowered into the third deck. So that means the sun deck is totally closed to use. There a are many times that the river is to high to make it under the bridges or too low where the boat would hit bottom. A sister boat is leaving Amsterdam as we are leaving Budapest.  Should river conditions not be good, we would have to pack up and the two boats would bus passengers and swap boats. That won't happen on our cruise.
Viking Modi
Our Captian Triple Parking
The Modi has jet thrusters on the bow and two dual prop electric drive modules on the rear. It depends on the thrusters for steering as it has no rudder. Electricity is provided by two 1,000 horse power caterpillar diesels and two 400 hp cat diesels. There is also a smaller one that is only used to keep minimum power during the parked non use times in the off season.
Our next port of call would be Regensburg with a population of 150,000. It was founded by the Romans in 179 AD and is the oldest city on the Danube. It's most famous industry is the BMW auto plant. In the heart of Bavaria it is also famous for it's Cuckoo clocks. We window shopped in one store where clocks ranged from79 to 2,000 Euros. Our long walking tour would take us to city hall and you guessed it the St Peters Cathederal. We also learned of the Jewish community here and what happened to them during the World War II. Most of these towns have cobblestone pavement and so a Jewish group is working on an art program to remember those Jews who were murdered during the war. They replace a stone in front of each house with a brass block inscribed with details about the family that lived there giving date of birth/occupation and date of death. Regensburg was also home to Oscar Schindler about whom the movie Schindler’s List was created.

From Regensburg to Nuremburg we will travel on the Danube, Main, and Rhine Canal. This was completed in 1992 and cost 2.3 billion Euros. At the top we are 460 meters high which is the highest point in the world where commercial water craft can pass from sea level. The canal ls 171 km (106 miles long and has 3 of the biggest drop locks on our trip at over 75 feet each. The canal connects the Danube to the Main River. Nuremberg is of course familiar to most as the headquarters of the NAZI party, and for the Nuremberg trials following the war. Hilter was not only an powerful leader but pretty insane as well. He had taken over 11 sq km's of the city and built a Documentation area, a huge Lulitpold Arena patterned after the Roman Colosseum, and Zeppelin Field where 150,000 people would attend for NAZI Patty Rally's. Most of these  structures were never completed and now stand in disarray. Germans keep reminding us of the horrors of that era so 'We can not forget.’

Then we did a walking tour up to Nuremberg Imperial Castle atop a rocky outcrop. Construction of this spectacular fortress began around the year 1,000. It has been under siege four different times over the years but was never breached. There are two entrances to the fortress. One is on the south side and is up a very steep slope with walls above where any attacker could be picked off by archers or guns with ease. We entered the north entrance which is designed to prevent entry. First there are Z shaped wall which protects the steel gate from a direct hit by cannon. Then there is a curving uphill bridge to the gate with walls above where once again soldiers could easily pick of intruders. This bridge also had a drawbridge before the iron gate. Then there is the gate itself. If one should be so lucky to get this far, they would then enter an uphill tunnel with holes in the roof where boiling oil or water could be poured down on them. The fortress was heavily damaged during WWII but has been restored to it’s former glory. We exited the south entrance and found the cobble-stoned hill down so steep as to very painful on my knees and Audrey’s hip. I can’t imagine anyone navigating this hill when it could be raining as the stones are polished and the slope is perhaps 25 degrees.

Our next stop would be at Bamburg! This is a beautiful small city of 75,000 in the Franconian district of Bavaria.

Our stop in Wurtzburg was fabulous. After the Middle Ages the Prince Bishops held tremendous power and wealth. This city has perhaps the most opulent Bishop's palace ever built between 1720 and 1744. It is a ridiculously huge Baroque building with more than a hundred rooms in front of three gigantic gardens. It did receive damage from 2nd world war bombing however has been restored to its former glory. The most interesting room contains the largest unsupported vaulted ceiling with the largest ceiling fresco in the world. The paintings are incredibly 3D and the ceiling survived the bombing. Unfortunately we were unable to take pictures inside the building. The old town below the palace is from medieval times and is also very interesting.
Prince Bishop's Fabulous Residenz, Wursburg
Mimes in Wurzburg
Wertheim is a small community on a sliver of land between the Main River and the much smaller Tauber river. Because of this it gets flooded regularly. The flood of 1784 was the highest ever and was much higher than any before or since. It was caused when a volcano in Iceland put a tremendous amount of ash in the air which caused unusually high snow falls in the hills. I This was followed by a week of warm weather which melted everything quickly causing all the rivers to flood. The waters swept down the Tauber like a tsunami killing many people, and overwhelming the town. Since then the man made dams and locks do control the river flows, however flooding still occurs regularly. Now they get 51 hours of notice that a flood is coming. People remove things from the lower floors and move them up. Then they fill the lower floor(s) with clean water so when the flood comes down the street very little will seep into the lower floors. When the flood subsides they open the doors and let the clean water out reducing the need to clean up.

Wertheim was famous for it's glass blowing which still goes on today. In addition further up on the hills several companies still work in glass making fibre optic cables.

This morning we come to the junction of the Main and Rhine rivers. The city here is Wiesbaden and immediately we go from serene countryside to big industry. The Rhine is a huge river and the water is moving much quicker. In places there is mild whitewater but you realize that it is much deeper than what we raft through in the Rockies. There are also many expensive large homes along the river banks, some with their own vineyard stretching down to the river. We see a couple of huge container ports and the shipping on the river gets much heavier with cargo boats. By 10:30 in the morning we are in the MIddle Rhine gorge which has many beautiful castles perched up on the hill sides. We would arrive at Koblenz a city of 110,000 in mid afternoon. Our group would split in three. Stan and Irene would stay aboard the boat, Ross and Lorna would go on the strenuous Castle tour and Wally and Audrey would take the Moselle wine tour. The Moselle River comes into the Rhine from the west in France. This river is navigable as well and we take a bus up the south side of the river to Winningen. The steep north banks of the river are covered with terraced vineyards with some slopes over 60 degrees. All are picked by hand here as machines can't navigate these slopes. We crossed the river to north side then up to the top of the bank for an incredible view. Then down to the Freiherr Von Heddsesorff winery for some tasting. We go down into the wine cellar to taste 2 different varieties of Riesling. We learn how to apply all of our senses in the tasting. Very good! We return to the boat by the north shore road.
Katz Castle (Burg Katz) One of Many Along the Rhine

Koblenz is a nice city with many statues and churches. One statue is huge one of Wilheim the first riding a horse right beside our boat. Over the boat a Gondola goes from one side of the Rhine to the top of the hill and the castle on the other side. Cost is 11 euros but we opt out  tonight as it is the Captains good bye dinner. We still have two more full days aboard the boat but both are filled with activities so this would be the last time that everyone would be together.
Busy Boat Traffic on the Rhine

On the last Saturday we arrive early in Cologne or Köln as it spelled in German. This is the fourth largest German city with a population of a million. We are here on a beautiful warm day and so streets are crowded with locals and tourists together. Our walking tour into the town centre discusses the allied bombing during WWII. This city was 90% destroyed by raids over several days. It is estimated that there were 10 to 30 thousand dud bombs still under the city. Due to new construction, permits are required to show a site is cleared of dud bombs. An average of 20 bombs are discovered every month. Thus far no one has ever been injured by these bombs. 
Cologne was created by the Farina family and copied by many others. Thus the creation of perfume. We find that in the 1700s the city water was so bad that people refused to bath on it. So Cologne was created to mask BO.

The tour ends at the fantastic Cologne Cathederal. This is the third highest in Europe and only marginally behind those of Ulm and Munich. However this is the only one of the three with two spires. It was heavily damaged in WWII but was restored to use after 10 years. The lighter stones are those installed in the renovations to replace the air raid damage. The stained glass windows were stored underground during the war and are some of the most spectacular anywhere.

Cologne Cathedral 3rd Highest in the World
After the Cathedral we dined at an outdoor cafe called 4D. Out waitress did not understand English so she brought us Biers (beer) while we were trying to figure if the pictures were of pizza or something else. So we ordered 2 from the menu pictures. They were really tasty but the bottom was like I big piece of toast. They were very tasty whatever they were. The beers were good too! After lunch we took the Tuk Tuk which is a street train with three cars behind. Our first stop was the chocolate museum. Chocolate is one of the other things that Cologne is known for. We only did the gift shop which had chocolates from all the major chocolateries. Names like Lindt and others were available in different sizes and types. Hershey's was not one of those names.Then we returned to the Cathedral which was very bumpy over the cobblestone streets.

We walked to our boat in crowds of people along the river to a German feast with all kinds of sausage, chicken, roast pig, cheese, sauerkraut, dumplings with German wines and of course beers. It was followed up with German deserts and more wine. A fabulous treat from Viking!

Budapest to Amsterdam River Cruise Part 2

Our last day of cruising would get us into the Netherlands. There is lots of heavy industry along the river and many nice homes and apartments as well. The land is much flatter here and we are told that the land is 5 feet below sea level. There are dykes along the river. Our first stop will be Kinderdijk. This is a heritage site with 18 of the old windmills which are still in working order. These were used to pump water up canals to be expelled into the river. Half of these were made of bricks and concrete, however they started sinking into the soft soil, so tree trunks were stuck under them to prevent further damage. The other half were made of wood were much lighter avoiding the sinking problem. Each could raise the water 1.5 meters. Each miller and his family lived in the first three levels of the windmill. It was the millers job to unfurl the canvas over the blades and keep the blades facing into the wind. He would turn the entire top of the mill by using a hand turned winch tied to blocks in the ground. They used lard and beeswax to lubricate the moving parts. These are required to turn 60,000 revolutions annually to keep in working order. Steam powered pumps were used for much of the 1800s and early 1900s. Today electric pumps assist the windmills in their job. 
Windmill ayt Kinderdijk
Tonight is our last night so we have to pack up in prep for disembarkation. After dinner we closed the bar down as we sailed into Amsterdam. Lights along the canal from homes and condos is very nice.

Our first day in Amsterdam. Our taxi was early to the Westcord Art Hotel. We arrived around 10 to a very nice 2 room suite. We were out exploring by 11. They have a wonderful transit pass which is good for one trip or for a 24 hour period. We opted for the 24 hour pass for 7.50 Euros. It works on a barcode system. As you get on the bus or streetcar (tram) you tap your card against a reader. You tap again when you get off. Our first ride was to the central station which is a huge building surrounded by bicycles. There is a 4 level bicycle garage with thousands of bikes. All of the streets have bike lanes, but scooters can go in them as well if they are under a certain CC engine and did less that 30kph. But we did see many scooters going faster than 30. One has to keep eyes open all around you for the bikes, streetcars, buses and cars. It is kind of scary but OK once you get used to the traffic light system. There are canals every block with loads of boats too. We walk several blocks to a square with the summer palace and Cathedral. Then we have lunch at an outdoor cafe. I have never seen so many good looking blondes, with such long legs pedaling bicycles. They say the city has 1 million people and 1.3 million bikes. 
Multi Story Bicycle Parking in Front of Central Station 
Bikes Everywhere

Unusual Bikes

After lunch we rode trams and toured much of the south east side of the city. The weather on our trip has been fantastic. It reached the mid 80's and the  A/C in the trams was non existent. It was very un comfortable. We got back to the main square nod walked around there and had ice creams. Things are very expensive here, however we found two cups and two double waffle cones for only 6.8€. Then a tram back to central station where we booked a tour to Delft and the capital city of The Hague. We would do that on Tuesday and then the Hop On Hop Off on Wednesday.
Amsterdam Royal Palace

Cheese Factory & Store

Tuesday we would have a wonderful continental breakfast in the hotel. Then we would use the tail end of our 24 hour transit pass to head downtown. We toured cheese shop with multiple flavours and free samples. Very tasty indeed. Then we would walk through the Red Light district of the city. Here is located a Sex Museum and a Prostitution Museum. There were many shops selling sex toys with demo models in the window. The girls were happy already so there was little demand for dildos or other apparatus. There were several of these shops right across from the Oude Kerk church. After walking several canals down, we decided it was time for lunch so we stopped at the Grande Cafe. We looked at the menu and opted to have a cold beer instead. The selection for food wasn't great. The temp was 86F and we were thirsty. So we had a cool beer and then went up the street to MickyDees for lunch. We met another couple from our boat and they informed us about a terrible accident on a sister ship Freya where the bridge didn't retract and hit  low bridge in Germany. 2 drew members were killed. After lunch we did some souvenir shops before getting on our Delft and Hague bus tour.

Netherlands is wet and flat, flat, flat. Saskatchewan has nothing on this place. Out of the city we found many fields with hay and other crops and livestock and several canals through each field. In Delft we visited the Royal Pottery Factory which has been making the famous blue pottery once 1654. There is one other such factory still working in Delft. Our guide showed us around and demonstrated how the process worked. We seen a Master Painter working on a piece. To be qualified as such one has to spend at least 10 years doing that. Most of the pieces are done with transfers, but those hand painted are very expensive.
Blue Pottery from Delft

Huge Blue Apple

Our next stop was to the Delft main square in front of the Cathedral but the square was taken up with a midway for some fair. Then on to the capital city The Hague. There are many modern skyscrapers here along with Embassies, and other government buildings, but these were hard to see because of trees, etc. Then we had an hour to spend at the the Madurodam miniature city. This is an incredible model on about 5 acres which depicts many of the heritage sites in Holland. It comes complete with an airport, a port with moving boats and even had a freeway and train setup with moving vehicles. This is fabulous. Then the ride back to Amsterdam via a different route. We had supper across from Central Station and then the bus home.
Mini Royal Amsterdam Palace

Detailed Exactly Like the Original
Our last day of this wonderful vacation is here and we have purchased tickets for the combo Hop On Hop Off Bus and Canal cruise. We rode the bus around first and had a tour of Gasson Diamond factory. The receive the raw diamonds from around the world including two mines in northern Canada. It was very interesting to watch the raftsmen shaping nod polishing the raw stones. We were the escorted into a secure room here we ere shown several different sizes , colours and qualities of stones including one which was worth 35,000€. We then bussed to the Anne Frank home. We took pictures from the outside but didn't go in for the tour. Then we lunched near a canal bridge under an umbrella. It was hot with high today going to 31C. Then we took to separate canal cruises witch took the entire afternoon. It was very hot. Pizza dinner near the central station then back to the hotel for a final pack up and sleep.
Lorna Looking forCorrect Shoe Size

At the Heineken Brewery
Some observations on this vacation. The Viking River Cruise is fantastic. Virtually everything was covered with the exception of optional excursions and your bar tab. Lunch and dinners included all the beer and wine you wanted with your meal. All entry fees were also included on all of the excursions. Each excursions had terrific guides and used what they called Quiet Boxes. This is a system where the guide has a transmitter and each person has a receiver and earpiece. Communication was good even when you weren't close to the guide. Every port had excursions and a couple of days we had two excursions. There was a lot of walking involved on these, and my knees were very sore most days. There were two special evenings on the trip. We missed the big productions of the ocean cruises, but there was some entertainment groups brought onto the boat. We had 3 days where we couldn't use the sun deck because there were several low bridges. We passed through 62 locks.

As for the flight we really enjoyed KLM. They put our North American carriers to shame. Service was good, meals were tasty and were accompanied by wine, beer or other beverages.

Amsterdam should be on everyone's bucket list. The 'old town' is very artsy and unique. Bicycles everywhere and pedestrians better be watching for them. The bicycle parking lot at central station was unbelievable with specs for thousands of bikes. The place is loaded with canals, shops and restaurants. Bring plenty of cash. We used public transit a lot and it was very good and cheap. One could buy 24 hour passes for 7.50€ of unlimited use on trams and buses. We recommend a combo Hop On Hop Off bus and canal ticket. English was spoken most everywhere. Streets are dirty with lots of cigarette butts and garbage, and there is far too much graffiti. Cheese shops had delicious free samples and flavors are quite strong compared to ours. The place is very flat so renting a bicycle would be a great option.