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6 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN... AALBORG; THERE Is Far More to Denmark Than Copenhagen. GARETH HUW DAVIES Took a Trip to Aalborg, the Most Northerly Danish City, near the Tip of Jutland, and Found Viking Valhalla, Snappy Schnapps, Golden Eagles and Bags of Nordic Style

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), July 25, 2010 | Go to article overview

6 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN... AALBORG; THERE Is Far More to Denmark Than Copenhagen. GARETH HUW DAVIES Took a Trip to Aalborg, the Most Northerly Danish City, near the Tip of Jutland, and Found Viking Valhalla, Snappy Schnapps, Golden Eagles and Bags of Nordic Style


Byline: GARETH HUW DAVIES

1 ... FJORD PERFECT DENMARK'S fourth-largest city, a budget flight from Gatwick, sits on a wide fjord on Jutland, the country's main north-pointing arm. To the west is the North Sea; the sheltered east coast has some of Northern Europe's best beaches.

Only 30 minutes after I landed at the small airport, my taxi dropped me at the Helnan Phonix Hotel (www.helnan.info). This 18th Century city-centre hostelry is big and rambling, with an easy comfort evolved over many years. They're proud of a quite new addition, a 1936 lift. It has touches you don't get in big, anonymous hotels, such as a slightly downhill corridor outside my room.

2 ... HISTORY HILL VIKINGS may have perfected the murderous maritime ram-raid, but I have always admired those two-prowed boats, low, sleek and deadly. They launched many a raid on the British Isles from Limfjord sound outside Aalborg. In time, dead heroes returned to be burnt with their boats - there are traces of the cremations at the Lindholm Hoje burial ground on a hill above the city. One of Scandinavia's richest historical sites, its extensive remains include 682 recently excavated graves.

The fantastic museum (www.visitaalborg.com) has a 3D animation of a Viking ship at sea. The many archaeological finds are explained in English. The cafe sells a beer, brewed with heather, honey, bog myrtle and malt, recreated after experts analysed a longburied Viking brew.

3 ... LIFT TO THE PAST OUTSIDE a department store in Algade, the main shopping street, I had a true 'never seen this before' moment. My guide pressed a button for a lift, then put 20 kroner ([pounds sterling]2.25) into a slot. We headed down to an unmanned museum in the remains of an 11th Century Franciscan friary. Afterwards, why not take a pleasant stroll through Aalborg's history - the cathedral, castle, old town hall, 17th Century merchant's house and attractive, half-timbered dwellings. Another distinctive feature of Aalborg is the range of craft and design shops. I like the wit and colour in Lange's Ceramic Workshop. Penny Lane is one of the best bakeries. Behag Din Smag is my pick of many independent coffee shops.

4 ... LOCAL HERO WHAT do Sydney and Aalborg have in common? The clue is a landmark new building overlooking the fjord.

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6 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN... AALBORG; THERE Is Far More to Denmark Than Copenhagen. GARETH HUW DAVIES Took a Trip to Aalborg, the Most Northerly Danish City, near the Tip of Jutland, and Found Viking Valhalla, Snappy Schnapps, Golden Eagles and Bags of Nordic Style
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