|Emma and Eve outside Bodiam Castle|
So after this brief visit, we departed from Southampton. Only Emma and Heather disembarked at the first port of call, Amsterdam. (The two teenagers, Andrew and Hannah, stayed with their dad for this holiday.) Emma was thrilled to get a chance to see Anne Frank's secret annexe, having studied the diary in school. Apparently the place still retains a very emotional atmosphere.
|Dragons in Tallinn Town Square|
Next was the undoubted high point of our voyage, a two-day sojourn in St Petersburg. I must admit to having been ignorant of some of the finer points of this fair city, such as the fact that it is crisscrossed by canals leading to it being dubbed the "Venice of the North", and the stunning Baroque architecture at every turn. We learnt a lot about its turbulent lifespan, from its inauguration by Peter the Great and the construction of its many elaborate palaces and churches, to the Soviet years when many of these were desecrated, to the subsequent downfall of the USSR, when St Petersburg started to enjoy a more relaxed European feel.
|Gardens at Peterhof|
Two days later we arrived in Copenhagen, Denmark. This was only a brief stop with about four hours to spare, so we enjoyed a pleasant stroll around the harbour area, which has a peaceful quality. The main thing we wanted to see was the statue of Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid, which we found after about fifteen minutes. We had an interesting experience there. Now I'm not intending this story to be racist: I'll simply relate what happened, and I'm interested to know if anyone has seen anything similar.
|The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen: Eve still|
traumatised from Japanese tourist
After this we had another couple of days to get back to Southampton, passing through the same patch of choppy water as the week before, then we got on a plane back to Edinburgh. All in all an amazing holiday. It was our third cruise but I think the best one. The ship was just the right size (not big enough to get lost in), everyone was warm and friendly, we met other families (there weren't too many kids on the ship so it was great for the girls to make friends), and the food was superb with lots of variety. The kids' club was awesome with three sessions a day lasting almost three hours each (yeah, we were spoiled), and the pool might have been too cold for a dip, but we did enjoy the hot tub.
|At the restaurant|
|Emma and Eve with Kids' Club staff|
|Enjoying a beer on the top deck|
What was your last great holiday?
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And don't forget you can still enter my giveaway until June 11th!