Love in times of closed borders

Love and friendship know no boundaries and no age restrictions. Also at the age of 89 and 85 years Karsten Tüchsen Hansen and Inga Rasmussen want to see each other every day. The problem: Hansen lives in Süderlügum in North Frisia, Rasmussen in the Danish town of Gallehus.

And the border between Schleswig-Holstein and Denmark has been largely closed for two weeks because of the rapid spread of the corona virus. Just talking on the phone is not enough for the elderly. So they meet every day at the closed border crossing at Aventoft.

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The 89 year old Hansen rides his e-bike from Süderlügum to the daily meetings. Rasmussen arrives at the border crossing with her car, which is halfway between the two places of residence. Directly at the red and white barrier, they sit on their side of the border on chairs they have brought with them. Rasmussen has a thermos with coffee, Hansen one with hot water and a bottle of “Geele Köm” – a spirits specialty popular in the region.

They sometimes eat lunch together

The senior mixes water punch as he calls it. “We usually drink it together in the evening, but that's not possible now.” They toast themselves with their cups. “Cheers to love,” says Hansen.

Sometimes they meet at noon. Then they eat the food that Rasmussen has cooked for themselves and their friend. And so far the weather has also played a part in the meetings. The two seniors keep the minimum distance at their meetings. There are currently no kisses, even a hug or a handshake, as Hansen says.

Background about the corona virus:

  • Corona shutdown: Economists, politicians and virologists argue about how long the standstill may last
  • Virologist Drosten: “Maybe you have to assume that we spend a year in a state of emergency “
  • With face masks against the coronavirus? What really protects against the transmission of germs
  • Follow the events to Corona virus in Berlin in its own live blog

The flowers were actually for another woman

Two years ago, Hansen and Rasmussen met for the first time, purely by accident. Then everything went very quickly. Both had been widowed at the time for some years, as they report. They started talking and Hansen presented Rasmussen with a bouquet of flowers – which he actually had for another woman.

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That same day, she said that he had been invited drove with him to Süderlügum. He invited her to a party the next day. She dressed up and came. “I was even more in love there,” says Hansen. Since then – until 13. March this year – the two spend together every day and every night. “I'm usually always with Karsten,” says Rasmussen. She slept there and then drove home and later to Karsten.

There are plans – for a trip

At the 14. March Denmark closes the border to Schleswig-Holstein. Germany follows two days later. Since then, the two seniors can no longer be together as usual. “It is sad, but we cannot change it,” says Rasmussen. They talked a lot on the phone and saw each other at their meetings. But the time in between is long when you're alone, says Rasmussen. The elderly hopes that they may visit again after Easter.

If the restrictions are lifted, they want to travel again. They have already made ship trips on the Danube, the Moselle and the Rhine twice. They would like to repeat that. And also the 90. Hansen's birthday at the beginning of March 2021 is to be celebrated. Together. (dpa)