Tag Archives: London

Where would you like to fly to from Sonderborg?

This is a guest post by Iulian. When local Alsie Express made a one-off offer of a weekend to London him and his girlfriend were quick to buy tickets. And the trip got Iulian thinking…

In April this year, I was one of the happy customers of Alsie Express for the flight to London. I always thought they deserved more than my likes on facebook, so this article is going to praise them to the sky :).

But this company deserves it – they offered really good services again.
As usual, their airplanes have super huge leg room. They offered us a lot of on-board snacks, beverages and fruit. The boarding was fast. We had a lot of information even before we bought the ticket: where exactly we land (it was a charter airport terminal), what cabs can we take, what were the prices for the connections, and so on. It was excellent service all the way through. We landed on Luton charter area, at Harrods Aviation and the personnel there was really high class. We felt a bit bad because they were dressed in suits and we had jeans and t-shirts.
The schedule for the flight was very well thought out: leaving Friday around 16:00 and arriving around 18:00 on Sunday.

After this nice experience, I wanted to find out some insights of the company and I managed to talk with Peter Høgh, the CEO of Alsie Express. There were some rumours about the real reason for the flight and I was curious about it. He confirmed that the plane was booked for a charter flight and was flying anyway to this destination. He did not reveal any other explanations, saying just that “due to internal conditions” this is all the information he can give at the moment.

He also said that we should expect this happening again, when there will be destinations interesting for leisure. When I asked him if Alsie Express has any initiatives towards international routes, he replied that these are very interesting but for the moment they are focusing on turning the Sonderborg – Copenhagen project into a profitable one.

I asked Peter to tell me some insights that nobody knows yet, and he has revealed that they are considering some vacation destinations like “Beer Munich Festival” or one – two weeks to ski destinations in the winter season. One more thing is that they are working hard on software challenges to establish the partnership with SAS. The main thing about this partnership is that luggage will be transported on its own in the CPH airport, without your need to pick it up.

I then asked him, if he believes that is possible that 50 people could book the airplane for specific destination, for destinations similar to London, and he seemed open to the idea “depending on the destination and the aircraft schedule.” That gave me a spark in the eyes.

So, what do you say, readers? Can we gather 50 of you to travel somewhere ? 🙂 Or does it sound good only to me?

Let’s do something crazy, let’s book a plane, Sønderborg.

The english Parliament seen from London Eye

Come on, where would you like to go?

Please spend one minute to fill this survey if you just like the idea of flying somewhere else from Sønderborg. Your minute could influence the decisions in a company. Doesn’t this sound good already ?

Survey: Where would you like to fly from Sønderborg?

*Disclaimer: This article does not represent the company view in any way.

Views on my Return

Before moving to Denmark, we lived in London. By the time we came to move, we were ready to leave the big city for somewhere new. However, that doesn’t mean that there is nothing I miss! Having returned for a short holiday a few weeks ago, these are the things that I miss the most:

London Transport

Now, I think you will struggle to find a British person who extols the virtues of London transport. It is crowded, possibly confusing and, incorporating the oldest underground railway system in the world, often has breakdowns or big maintenance projects. However, when I compared my experience there with the experience I had in Copenhagen less than a week before my London trip, this is what I miss:

1. People wait for you to get off public transport before getting on

Copenhagen transport seems to be a free for all, with the idea of a ‘functioning queue’ far from most people’s in built concepts. It was a pleasure being able to get off the train without struggling against a flood of people, or being shoved by people from behind if you refuse to push in on getting on.

2. Stand to the right, walk on the left on escalators

Another concept that doesn’t seem to have reached Copenhagener’s inbuilt concepts. If you see a person on London transport that is standing on the left of the escalator, you can be pretty sure that that is a tourist. Otherwise people beautifully line themselves on the right if they don’t want to climb the escalators, or walk up on the left. If you’re not in a hurry you can let the escalator do the work, but for you who needs to get things done, you can power up at the same time.

Shops & Shop Keepers

I could always moan about prices. After all, I never thought that I would live somewhere more expensive than Denmark. But, actually, that is not my main gripe about Danish shops. It is actually the shopkeepers!

3. Do you need any help?

I have learnt that in Denmark you can go to school to learn how to become a shopkeeper. It seems that the one thing that all of them have learnt (besides how to wrap gifts beautifully!) is that ‘as soon as a client comes in go right up and ask if they need anything’. In the UK, they let you browse around, and then after a few minutes, after you have had some time to look around and think about what you need, come over and ask if you need some help.  Unfortunately, by this time, the Danish shopkeepers typically have disappeared to somewhere where I can never find them. Much more useful for me!

Getting Clean

We have been looking at houses recently in Sønderborg. Unfortunately, it seems, whenever a bathroom gets remodelled here, the bath is one of the first things to go. Our apartment is similar: no bath, just a shower. Being in London, this is what I realised that I have missed:

4. Getting properly clean in a bath

I struggle to believe that I can get completely clean by washing myself with a point source on top of my head. Unfortunately, unless we buy a house and remodel the bathroom, I don’t think I will get this here. The estate agents I have seen have looked at me as though I am completely bonkers for wanting a bath. And then remember a house with an ugly 60s-80s bathroom that is in desperate need of remodelling to offer us. It was utter bliss to be able to relax and feel completely clean for once!

What about you? What do you miss when you return to Denmark that you never thought you would?

Thought on Holidays

We are back to Sonderborg after a brief break for a holiday. While relaxing in the warmer climate further south, my thoughts turned to holidays and how different environments can affect the vacations you take.

Tower Bridge, London

From my experience in Malta, the most common vacations are city visits. When asking friends and families where they have been on holiday this year, cities like Rome, London, Paris and Prague abound. In fact, the UK and Italy remain the most popular destinations for Maltese people year on year.

Looking at Danish people, however, their answer is typically quite different. I hear Mallorca, Malaga, Crete, Canary Islands repeatedly. In Malta these types of holidays are typically considered lazy holiday destinations for young people whose idea of a great holiday is one they spend drunk (if at all). It is sometimes considered a lazy holiday choice, so imagine my surprise when these were the destinations continually mentioned by people of all ages, and especially for families. I was even more flabbergasted when they continuously told me that they have been to that same resort/location for the last X amount of years.


It was only when an aunt of Michael’s reply to ‘Why are you going AGAIN to Crete rather than, say, Malta this year?’ was countered back by: ‘I looked at the weather forecast and there is a much lower chance of rain in October in Crete than Malta’ that it finally clicked (yes – I might be a bit slow sometimes).

As Maltese people we do not need to travel to enjoy the beach, so we consider it a bit lazy to ‘waste’ your holiday going to beaches and relaxing there. So we go elsewhere where we can appreciate the culture, the nature, and (often) the shopping experience. However, capitalising on sun is what Danes aim for.

I always saw holiday choice from my cultural point of view. I guess I should learn to be less judgemental right?;)

Cost of living in Denmark: Groceries

Where do you think it is cheapest to shop for groceries, London or Sonderborg?

We moved to Sonderborg from north west London and before we left London we went to our local supermarket, Sainsbury Kilburn, and got prices (without getting arrested) for a typical big shopping trip for us. We went to our new local supermarket in Sonderborg, Bilka, and found the same items. The items we put on the list are our most typical items for groceries shopping.

Iceland on Kilburn High Road closing

We colour coded the items so you can see what is cheapest where. Green means it’s cheaper in Sonderborg, red/yellow means it’s cheaper in London. Here is what we found:

When shopping in Denmark we have been quite shocked by the prices of beans, lentils and couscous. But looking at our result here pasta and rice are also vastly more expensive in Denmark. At the end of Perlegade we have found an ethnic supermarket that is slightly cheaper and with good quality products.

We did not buy yoghurt or cheese but it’s my experience that dairy products are cheaper in Denmark than UK. Likewise fish and some meat products (apart from minced) also seem cheaper in Denmark.

Unlike most countries Denmark has a flat VAT rate of 25% on everything. In UK (and most other countries) unprocessed food has a reduced or zero VAT rate. With the Danish “Fat Tax” and other behaviour adjusting taxes it is no wonder that Danes cross borders to shop. It is estimated that 12 billion kroner or the equivalent to 4% of what is spent in Danish shops takes place abroad.

Of course, this is not the most scientific of surveys! First of all, prices were noted on different dates some 3 months apart. The sample shopping also has more meat to vegetable than we would normally get and our selection is not that wide. Nevertheless, you can still get a good idea of shopping costs.

We have gone for the cheapest brand, usually the store brand where possible. If the weights were not the same we converted the weight/price. For comparison we used the exchange rate of October 27, 2011 with 1GBP = kr. 8.5571. The prices in London were collected on October 27, 2011 the prices in Denmark were collected mid-January. Here is a link to the spreadsheet with the data.


Welcome to the blog Hej Sønderborg! We are Ann and Michael, two new sønderborgensere, moving there in November. Michael is Danish and I (Ann) am from Malta and this will be my first experience of living in Denmark – wish me luck!

Before moving to Sønderborg we lived in London. Being the huge cosmopolitan city that it is we could pretty much find all the information about what is going on at our fingertips. We had a number of favourite ‘things to do’ and community blogs that we particularly enjoyed such as IanVisits, Tired of London Tired of Life and West Hampstead Life. However, we could not find anything similar in English for Sønderborg. We have both had our own blogs before, so we decided to join efforts and start our own!

What can you expect here?

We will mainly use this blog to write about place to see, food to eat and events going on in Sonderborg and the area. Being newcomers to the area we will also write about our thoughts, impressions and practicalities of moving to Sønderborg/Denmark that we hope other people will find useful.

At that we will end this first post. Do let us know if you are out there lurking about and have any ideas or comments. The comments section is open so feel free to throw them at us!