Residents in a German town have come up with a creative way to get their daily bread from their favourite French baker at the border crossing.
Myriam Jansem-Boualit runs a bakery in the frontier town of Carling in north-east France. Her longtime customers are made up of both French and German citizens who, in normal times, can seamlessly travel between the two countries for work or to shop. But with borders now closed due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, Myriam has been taking orders by phone and meeting her customers from the German side at the crossing to deliver bread and pastries.
"They don't dare to come anymore because there are police border controls. Before, there were a lot of Germans who came to buy bread,” she told AFP. “Now, seeing the controls... So what I can do now is bring the bread. I leave my telephone number and they call me when they arrive and I bring the bread across the fence."
One of her most loyal customers, Hartmut Fey from Lauterbach, a village in the neighbouring German region of Sarre, has even come up with a unique way to collect his bread. Every day he brings a fishing rod to the border so he can 'fish' his baguette from Myriam's tote bag, rather than risk hand-to-hand transaction. With his quirky pick-up method garnering lots of attention on social media, Fey told AFP he thought it was "a fun way" to get the social distancing message across, as well a nice way to support his baker.
"We’ve been buying our baguettes and bread here in France for decades,’ he added. "It has to do with tradition."
Border closures have disrupted daily life for residents in frontier towns across Europe but like Fey and his favourite baker, people are finding novel ways to adapt – such as the octogenarian couple above who live on opposite sides of the German-Danish border but meet daily at the crossing for a lunch date of Schnapps and sandwiches.