sounds like you were trying to download the "symlink" instead of the actual file. Try exploring a little deeper into your "logs" directory, and see if you can find a "plain" file.
You will see files named "access-log.2006-09-13" and "access-log.2006-09-13.gz". The first type is a straight text file, the other is a "gzipped" file. Either one should work, though you will need a compatible "zip" tool to extract the contents of the .gz files.