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Today I got my certificate for bartending from the PEI Liquor Control Commission. Why on Earth would I want to do that? Well I thought it would be a practical thing to have, I do not intend to work in a bar but at the Club if we should have a last minute emergency then I could help out. I got a 90% success rate on my exam. Because of my family hotel background I have worked in Hotels in Europe and North America while I was still in school. It was a good thing to learn and my work experience has stayed with me all these years. Doing the exam was easy, a lot of the concepts I understood and knew, so this is just another feather in my cap.

So I have been surfing the net for pictures of another topic I have been watching for more than 20 years. That is the reconstruction of the City of Berlin, both the East and West sector of what was once a divided city. There are  several blogs both in German and in English on reconstruction in the German Capital.

It is interesting to read about the work of artists, stone masons, archivists, historians and politicians. Some very good photos are taken to show what is being done. Historical places are being re-born some 75 years after they were destroyed by war.

Many other cities in Germany have been through a re-birth since reunification in 1989. Dresden, Potsdam, Hamburg, Frankfurt, etc. In all cases armies of artisans are at work and the public not only in Germany but in the world give donations to help with the restoration efforts, the EU and the Federal Government of Germany are actively involved.

But while many historical buildings are being re-built, they are not returning to their old usage or made up to look like museums to life under the Hohenzollern Dynasty. In most cases the interior of such buildings are totally re-imagine to fit into our world today.  The Humboldt Forum will be housed in the newly re-built Imperial City Palace,  the outside is the original  Baroque architecture but the landscaping around it will be reflecting a modern urban green landscape, recently Honey Locust Trees measuring 5 meters have planted on the North Side of the Palace. The inside is ultra-modern and will be a museum to World civilization.  The Princesses Palais built in 1773 and destroyed in 1944 was rebuilt and is now called Palais Populaire. Again the outside is original Baroque reflecting the other building around it, but the inside will be presenting modern contemporary art. Many churches have also been rebuilt on the outside in the original style of the 18th century to reflect their history but the inside is modern to reflect what happened and what lesson to draw from destruction and war.  Few in Germany today wish to celebrate either the Bismarck era or the two disastrous world wars. Germany today looks forward with a progressive view of itself. Along Unter Den Linden, a palatial avenue with the Fredericanus Forum, which is an ensemble of buildings on the avenue  built at the time of the reign of Frederick II the Great, so every building has his imprint. The Zeughaus or Arsenal is a pinkish baroque building, now the German History Museum, the State Opera c.1742, recently renovated is also in that pink colour with baroque statues. Other palaces like the one occupied by Prince Henry, brother of Frederick II is the seat of the Humboldt University since 1810. So in many ways Berlin is not what people expect, it is a city of the Arts, music (techno is very popular) and Culture, parks, lakes and greenery.

So here goes:

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The dome of the City Palace under completion, a little film about it explains that each sheet of copper some 1000 square meters of it  must be hammered into place, it should be completed in about a month. Then the great lantern will be brought by helicopter to be installed on top, that should be quite the feat of engineering given its size. The same was done in Dresden for the lantern of the FrauenKirche at 80 meters above ground.

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One of the honey locust trees being re-planted on the North Side of the reconstructed City Palace now called Humboldt Forum slated to open in October 2020. Trees did grow in that area prior to 1939.

Immediately across the street is the Lutheran Cathedral and the Lust Garten and 5 museums. One new museum has opened in the last few months, the James Simon Museum dedicated to the collection of James Simon (1851-1932) who was a great benefactor to the Berlin Museums through his lavish donations. The famous Nefertiti bust was a gift from James Simon and is on display in the gallery amongst many precious objects he donated. His family were Jewish entrepreneurs in cotton and textiles. He was also an advisor to Kaiser Wilhelm II on art and archeology.

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Many of the works of reconstruction or new buildings are the work of non-german architects like David Chipperfield, Franco Stella or Norman Foster. They bring a new modern view and an international spirit, a goal the Federal Government of Germany is pursuing.

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The James Simon Gallery in front of the Neues Museum rebuilt and re-interpreted by David Chipperfield. This international spirit also extends to museum directors like Neil MacGregor Director of the Humboldt Forum formerly of the British Museum. He has recently retired and replaced by Hartmut Dorgerloh formerly of the Prussian Palaces and Garden Foundation.

I really like Berlin for all that it has to offer and for its atmosphere, a very dynamic city.