In the beginning of May Ann’s sister, Cecilia, and a friend came to visit us in Sonderborg for 5 days. We asked her to write a guest post about her experience. Cecilia is currently studying at DCU in Dublin.
I am just back from 5 days spent in the Sonderborg area visiting Ann and Michael. I had been to Denmark before visiting Copenhagen and south Jutland, but this was my first visit to Als and its environs. We were blessed with some good weather, with the sun shining on most days, which was a welcome change to the Irish weather.
My main tip to anyone visiting the area is to get a good pair of comfy shoes since walking is undoubtedly the best way to see the town. The pier next to Sonderborg Slot was a favourite walking place of ours during our stay with really beautiful views and a relaxing atmosphere. But perhaps coming from a small island and now living in a big city, makes me slightly biased to the wonders of the sea (and a blue sky).
The people in Denmark seemed to be extremely friendly, and I did not have much problems in communicating. Surprisingly enough, it was only at the tourist information in Sonderborg that I was asked whether I could speak German once I started speaking in English. Luckily I studied German for 6 years during secondary school so I managed to get the required information. However, people on the street we stopped to ask for directions, and people in shops were overall quite helpful, and even where the level of English was not that high, communication was not an issue.
If you are staying for more than 2 days, however, I would suggest you rent a car. This is because, once you spend a day visiting Sonderborg town (Sonderborg slot, perhaps the Dybbol site, and soaking in the atmosphere on the first day and Danfoss Universe on the second day), it would make sense to venture further afield. Nevertheless, keeping Sonderborg as a base is a good idea, since it is truly a lovely town and you can never get tired of walking along the pier in the evening and stopping for a coffee or ice cream at the café there.
We rented a car from Europcar in Sonderborg for the middle three days of our trip, having spent the first day walking around Sonderborg and the last day at Danfoss Universe. I was quite excited about this because I got to drive on the right hand side of the road (which is the wrong side where I am coming from i.e. Malta and more recently Ireland). But for those who have never done this before, do not despair. I did not find it to be that hard, and got into it quite quickly, although for the first day I had to keep telling myself: keep to the right…keep to the right.
Having a car, we got to go further afield. Froslev Prison Camp, I think, was one of my favourite places, being well laid out, having English versions for most (probably all) exhibits and really interesting. However, the highpoint of having a car was undoubtedly our visits to Germany, which is a short hop away from Sonderborg. Having lived on 2 different islands, this has not yet been possible to date. However, you must keep in mind that you then need Euros to use in Germany in addition to the Danish Kroner in Denmark (though with credit cards, this is a minor issue nowadays).
A further tip for a trip to the area is to remember to get your inner child out, especially when visiting places like Danfoss Universe and Egeskov castle. It is only by doing this that you can get maximum enjoyment out of the visit.
Tak Ann, Michael and all the people I met in Sonderborg and on this visit. I will hopefully be back :).