'Earth sandwich' made by two men 20,000km apart

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The picture showing the two points in New Zealand and SpainImage source, Etienne Naude
Image caption,
"I felt that I was making something bigger than me," said Angel Sierra (right) after linking up with Etienne Naude (left)

Two men in New Zealand and Spain have created an "Earth sandwich" - by placing bread on precise points, either side of the planet, at the same time.

The man behind the sandwich, Etienne Naude from Auckland, told the BBC he wanted to make one for "years", but had struggled to find someone in Spain, on the other side of the globe.

He finally found someone after posting on the online message board, Reddit.

The men used longitude and latitude to make sure they were precisely opposite.

That meant there was around 12,724km (7,917 miles) of Earth packed between the slices - and some 20,000km between the men, for those forced to travel the conventional route.

The first "Earth sandwich" is credited to the American artist Ze Frank, who organised two slices of baguette to be placed in New Zealand and Spain in 2006.

Others have since followed - although not all reported examples have been bona fide, opposite-point Earth sandwiches.

Wanting to create his own, Mr Naude, 19, used an online longitude and latitude tool called "tunnel to the other side of the Earth" to find his exact opposite point.

Learning it was in southern Spain, he then asked a "bunch of friends and family if they knew anyone from Spain in that region" but none did.

So two months ago, he posted on the Spain section of the online message board Reddit. He got "a few replies" and found one person close to the precise location.

Angel Sierra, a 34-year-old chef, told the BBC he replied to the message because "it can help to show how people can work together across the globe...I felt that I was making something bigger than me".

"But no, I didn't know that Earth sandwich was a thing," he added.

Once the men were in contact, then came the tricky part - making a sandwich with another person when you are on opposite sides of the planet.

"It was quite hard to organise since it's 12-hour time difference," Mr Naude said. "And there's lots of things to arrange, such as the kind of bread, the time, the [precise] location, et cetera."

Mr Naude only had to travel a few hundred metres to find a suitable public spot on his side of the world. Mr Sierra had to travel 11 km (6.8 miles).

"It's quite tough to find a spot which isn't water on the New Zealand end - and where public roads or paths intersect in both sides," Mr Naude said.

As if he hadn't gone to enough effort, Mr Naude - a computer science student at Auckland University - made specially-decorated white bread for the occasion.

Image source, Etienne Naude
Image caption,
Etienne Naude's Earth sandwich design, showing two slices of bread either side of the globe

Using a "near top of the range laser cutter", he burnt an "Earth sandwich" design onto 20 slices of bread, then used one slice to mark his exact, tightly-defined sandwich spot in New Zealand.

His counterpart used nine slices of unmarked bread to make sure he covered the exact spot.

The composite picture, showing both men, their bread, and their co-ordinates, was then posted on Reddit - to the delight of other users.

"Holidays give me lots of free time to do strange things like this," wrote Mr Naude in response to one commenter.

One user said that - with their longitude and latitude and calculations - they were within one foot of the precise opposite point.

The scientific name for points opposite each other on the Earth's surface is antipodes - a term sometimes used to describe New Zealand, as it is roughly opposite the UK.

According to World Atlas, only around 15% of "territorial land" is antipodal to other land.

The UK, Australia and most of the US do not have antipodal land points - the other side of the world is water.

World Atlas says "the two largest antipodal areas inhabited by humankind are located in East Asia and South America".

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