Tag Archives: celebration

Eating out: Restaurant Bind

Ask people in the Sonderborg area to recommend a good restaurant to go out to eat at for some celebration, and you can be sure that Restaurant Bind in Kollund will be one of the top suggestions.

So when we had something to celebrate (new house! But more about that later) we decided to give Restaurant Bind a try.

First Impressions

You find the restaurant by driving along Flensburg Fjord towards Germany and find the restaurant close to Kollund, just before you reach Annie’s Kiosk/Okesøen. The restaurant is not very well marked, having just a small sign, similar in size to a Danish street sign. There is enough parking for the small dining room inside, and from there you make your way to the restaurant by following the signs.

The dining room itself is set out looking on the water, giving you very good views over Flensburg Fjord. On the day we were the first to arrive, so it was absolutely delightful to have the quietness of the restaurant and the view of the fjord all to ourselves.


If possible I would recommend arriving for dinner before the sun has gone completely down to have the opportunity to enjoy the view. We were seated in the middle of the restaurant, but for even better views I would consider asking for a table next to the window next time.

The Food

First thing you should know about Restaurant Bind is that, unlike most other restaurants, there is a 3-course set menu that changes every 2 weeks, together with 2-3 other dishes that also change depending on what is in season. This does make your choice very easy! You can have a look at the menu online before you go to see what is on offer. It does, however, seem that there is no vegetarian option.

As a lot of people have said, the food is really one of the stars of the plate. Everything complemented each other beautifully. The portions were also, although as to be expected not on the huge size, plenty big enough to make you feel nicely full at the end of the meal. Having bread and water continuously supplied (for free!) to the table when needed also helped make the experience for me (a bread loving Mediterranean).

The Service

Arriving at the restaurant we were warmly greeted by a number of staff. The service remained impeccable throughout the rest of the evening. Considering this, I was very surprised to hear that one of the servers had only been there one week, and for the other it was his first day! So Kasper and Michael I bow my head to the excellent job you did.

Having said all this, if there is one downside to the place is that there is a sort of subtle upselling pressure from the owner that arrives at intermittent points during the evening, namely, aperitifs on arrival and tea after your dessert. This was not something I expected from such a restaurant, but I am sure it works, considering that even though I really don’t like most teas-except British black teas-I was close to saying yes to them! It was also a surprise to see that the alcoholic and non-alcoholic (juice) aperitif cost the same when the bill came. Nevertheless, this was a very very minor blip in an otherwise perfect evening.

Would we go again? When we have something to celebrate and want to treat ourselves, Restaurant Bind will most definitely be high on our list of options! I just need to remember to say no to things I do not like, but I guess that is my problem…

fun ride celebration

This is How we Party

Parties and celebrations are a mainstay of all cultures. They are what bring friends and families together, villages and nations. They are what we look forward to when we want to have fun. However, the way we have fun is where the differences start! We have already written about Danish festivities with family and friends. But what about village festivities?

Rotunda of Mosta

I come from Malta, where village feasts are a big deal. The feasts there are connected to the feast of the local saint (or saints), with each village typically celebrating the feast of two saints for a week each year. During the feast week there are band marches, decorated streets and churches (remember that these are religious feasts first and foremost) and fireworks – LOTS of fireworks, both aerial and ground fireworks. There is often ongoing rivalry between different feasts in the same village or nearby towns, which means that the festivities often get bigger every year as they try and outdo each other.

Coming from this background I consider such feasts and festivals to be a time when the people from a town or village really get together to organise the best party they can. Every day during the feast week people are on the streets of the village walking and talking to each other, visiting each other and just enjoying the atmosphere. The aim is to see people and be seen. It is like a family party, just on a bigger scale!

In Sonderborg, however, the village celebrations seem to be organised from a slightly different perspective. Sonderborg has two main village celebrations each year, none of which are connected to any religious event. First there is the Byfest, or town festival, during the Ascension weekend. The Ringridning festival, or Tilting-at-the-Rings festival, is then at the beginning of July.

fun ride celebration

Unlike in Malta, these festivities do not seem to be centred around people meeting and talking to each other as the primary aim. The byfest is organised by sport-related societies in order to raise money. On visiting the byfest I was very surprised to see funfair rides and stalls as the main focus point of the feast. It seemed that the point of the celebration was to get people to do stuff (and, of course, pay for stuff).

The Ringridning celebration is slightly different. This appears to be the main village festivity, although it is first and foremost a tilting at the rings competition that has developed into a colourful and joyful celebration that has spilled over to people in the area. Again there are funfair rides on the grounds, though this is not the main focus.


So what are my feelings?

I, of course, have grown up with the Maltese style of village celebrations, so that is what I expect and think of first and foremost when I think of village celebrations. I must admit I left the byfest feeling sad, missing the camaraderie of Maltese feasts, where the entertainment (fireworks, decorations, band marches) are all occurring on the streets, free for everyone to enjoy. I missed feeling that as a inhabitant of Sonderborg this is MY feast as well, rather than a spectator enjoying a show, or someone who is an easy target for being made to spend money on the rides.

Of course, not everyone agrees with me. Just as I am a foreigner living in Denmark, there are foreigners living in Malta. And one of them has written a blog post about village feasts in Malta. Do go over and read what her opinion is! Let’s just say that her and I don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye on this topic ;).

Lighted church photo by Michael Camilleri

Funfair photo by Linda Cronin.


If you live outside of Denmark you might know today as Shrove TuesdayMardi Gras, Carnival, Pancake Day, or a number of other names. In Denmark, it is known as Fastelavn.

The day falls on the eve of Ash Wednesday, 46 days before Easter, which means that it is only a coincidence that it coincides with Valentine’s Day this year! As with other traditions, this day represents a day of fun and indulgence before the days of repentance and sacrifice during Lent.

In preparation for the coming days, a special treat is common around these days: Fastelavnsboller. This consists of a puff pastry bun filled with cream or jam and decorated with icing that you can find in most shops during this time.


The main activity of the day is ‘hitting the cat out of the barrel’. In the olden times a real black cat was placed in a barrel that people hit till it broke, hence the name. This was thought to keep evil away. Luckily, this is no longer done. I cannot see it going down well with people nowadays!

Today this involves kids dressing up and hitting a barrel filled with sweets until the barrel breaks open, releasing all the goodies for the kids. Like the Mexican piñata but without the blindfold. This explains the sudden appearance of many ill-made barrels in the shops. The first time I had seen this activity it involved a group of wet-suit clad adults jumping from a bridge into the river below and attempting to hit a barrel…brrr!

Fastelavn in Ribe

If you want to dress up and try to hit the cat out of the barrel yourself Buddy Holly is throwing a Fastelavnsfest on Saturday.

Fastelavnsboller photo from emme-dk