It's April 2020. I'm driving down deserted country roads, meandering along the formerly impenetrable border. Passing residents glare at the license plate from the city. Radio reception fading in and out. The absence of other cars and incoming text messages with roaming information foreshadow the approaching border you know will be blocked.
Families and couples once again separated meet up at the roadblocks, meters apart. Spooked either by the camera or the reflective vest, approaching cars turn around and speed off. Other cars inconspicuously parked in driveways suddenly start their engines to reveal the border patrol officers inside, observing me through binoculars. As night falls, floodlights illuminate soldiers checking entry papers at army checkpoints. People watching the evening news on huge flatscreen TVs, casting bluish light from every house.
Three decades after the Fall of the Iron Curtain, concrete roadblocks have reappeared at Schengen borders in an attempt to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Europe on lockdown remains somewhat unfathomable to me.