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. …