The Tag der Deutschen Einheit, or (Re-)Unification Day - not to be confused with the date The Wall actually came down almost a year earlier - still elicits mixed feelings twenty-three years after the event: good to be one again but, Oh Boy, was it expensive!
Needless to say, they've stopped counting how many times since the event the original unification budget has been exceeded and after years of argument, soul-searching and historical date clashes, it was finally decided to stick with an annual celebration of the 3rd October date that the GDR's Volkskammer had voted on on 23rd August 1990 in deciding, almost overwhelmingly, as its day of accession to the Constitution of the FRG.
Goodbye V.I. Lenin, L.Trotsky and K.Marx: your busts, statues, portraits, red stars, flags and dilapidation; hello a disastrous one-for-one wages conversion rate and lots of , still ongoing, 'solidarity' subsidies. Hello TUI, hello Neckermann Reisen!
Did unification change much?
Worked wonders for the FRG's second-hand auto market and got rid of the monstrous, papier-mache Trabant that ran on cabbage and hope - of getting to the end of the road rather than away from it all.
Freed up a lot of useless, decaying real estate too; refurbished now but still mostly useless. Gave better access to the Baltic: not exactly the Mediterranean.
Certainly didn't change the East into a dynamo: not easy to change socialist habits.
Politicians being politicians, many adjusted their personal colours and their party manifestos to ensure continuity, longevity and guaranteed pensions and just as many from the other side now rule this side, the moral of this story being that if you want to change your mind with impunity but without lasting consequences, dye your hair, get fat, chase votes! And if you're a voter - which I'm not at national level - do your duty, vote, then go do what you wanted to do anyway, whatever set of party initials sits in Berlin's front row coalition.
Anyway, the aftermath of history meant that today, a quiet, pleasantly sunny if not particularly warm Autumn one, was also one of (almost) labour-less leisure: a pyjama morning followed by a walk through the park, a curry (yes, London doesn't have a monopoly, we have Delhi Tandoori here too) and two hours in a dark Kino to end the day watching Sandra Bullock dispatching George Clooney into outer space - which I think was an allegory for Mrs Merkel seeing off the FDP with similar finality.
Please don't look for anything political in today's slide show, unless the spiral staircase is beaming some sort of message. It's mostly just a walk in the park and confirmation that we're well into the third season.
At least there was one small benefit from forty-five years of Eastern misrule: an annual holiday to mark its miserable failure; a day to remind one that a red flag still means danger and that some dreams turn into nightmares.