A little under four weeks later then planned, I catch the Number 5 Bus from the Museum stop in Geneva and, half an hour later, am dropped off right in front of the international terminal. It is somewhat ironic that the route takes us right past Gare Cornavin, where the theft of my bag containing my passport and much else delayed my departure from supposedly tranquil Switzerland.
There's no queue at all at Business Class check in, which is great, but Swissport can't cope with authorising my round the world baggage allowances for the final sector of my itinerary. So I am made to stand like a prune for 10 minutes while they receive the necessary authorisation from the airline, despite a memo from Air New Zealand explaining the relevance of my original ticket.
What a palaver.
But my C-Class ticket means I am fast tracked through security and cause interest at passport control who ask, of course, why I have an emergency passport. The two guys on duty told me that 'The railway station in Geneva has a very bad reputation'. I just hope that tour groups and guide books tell people about the current problem.
I enjoy breakfast at Swiss International's Business Lounge, including their absolutely excellent croissant, the best I have tasted since the last time I was in their lounge!
The Airbus to Heathrow is surprisingly quiet and I am the lone passenger in the first two rows. Odd, because I couldn't book my preferred 1A which has been showing as occupied for months.
Approaching London, we circle over the 02 arena for a short while before we are given permission to land at Heathrow. Why is it that the plane I am on always seems to end up at the furthest point of Terminal 1 from passport control?
There is great interest in my very expensive temporary passport at Border Control which is promptly retained, despite the fact I point out that it is in fact valid for further travel. But I am just glad to be back home.
I have taken advantage of Europcar's Terminal 1 service, which means my hire car is waiting just a few steps away from the arrivals hall. No shuttle bus, just pick it up and drive. Only £20 extra. Brilliant.
So, that ends 'Around the World in 60 Days – Backwards'. It's been a great trip, with surprisingly few hiccups.
Just as last year, I think a Round the World Business-Class fare is remarkable value. My grateful thanks to Christian at Air New Zealand who is just the best there is at helping plan itineraries - and so patient with a dithering client like me!
Of course, there have been many, many people who have either helped me, accommodated me and generally been a part of this trip. To them, my heartfelt and sincere thanks.
And, finally, my appreciation to the more than twenty thousand folk all round the world who have been following my blog. Your comments and support have meant so much.
Till the next time.
The very best photos from the trip can be seen at:
|The very best of 'Around the World - Backwards'|