Return flight to Australia on this round the world trip was on a Qantas B747-400 seated on the upper deck in row 14 where legroom is unrivaled! We had another flight booked on a Qantas 747 once again flying upstairs later in 2020 but unfortunately due to Covid this next 747 flight was cancelled and QF26 turned out to be our last flight on a Qantas 747-400.
Back in Tokyo for the last few night of our stay in Japan this trip our accommodation was Granbell Hotel Shinjuku 2 Chome-14-5 Kabukicho, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 160-0021, Japan which the hotel website refers to as a Boutique hotel like an urban hideout located 4 minutes' walk from Higashi Shinjuku station. From memory our room was called an Executive Mature Double which the hotel describes as "a classy flooring and a large glass shower and bath room gives you high quality space. The night view from relaxed bath tub provides you elegant calm time.
First stop this trip to Japan was Kyoto where we were booked at Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel Kyoto Premier, Japan, 〒604-8001 Kyoto, Nakagyo Ward, 三条上る上大阪町５０９番地. Our room type was a Garden Twin Room.
Following our flight from Zurich Switzerland to Helsinki we connected through to Tokyo Narita airport on Finnair AY73 operated by an Airbus A350-900 our first experience in this model aircraft. Before boarding we spent time in the other Finnair lounge in Helsinki airport near gate 52, a photo of the self serve bar area is below.
We departed Zurich on a newer Airbus A321 with winglets, Finnair flight number AY1512 departing ZRH at 10:55am arriving HEL at 2:45pm, a scheduled duration of 2 hours and 50 minutes over a distance of 1107 miles. Seats feature thinner backs on the newer models and provide better support and a little more space. Food tasted better than it looks in the photo and drinks service was great. On arrival in Helsinki the aircraft parked away from any gates and all passengers were bussed to the terminal. Check in at Zurich airport was very smooth and the smallish Oneworld Lounge was excellent.
Chillon Castle Avenue de Chillon 21, 1820 Veytaux, Switzerland is a great site to visdit and a full day can almost be spent exploring this castle. Here are a few photos taken on a recent visit.
Zurich Central Plaza Hotel Central 1, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland as accommodation over New Years was a great location and the room was great. Over looking the river with the central station across the bridge out front, a COOP store on the other side as well and the tram stops right out the front. Very close to many bars and a wide variety of dining options. One of the only weird things with housekeeping on the second morning the only coffee pods we left were decaffeinated pods and they gave more decaffeinated! Photos show the room and view from the room.
Although we were only staying in Switzerland for less than 6 full days we purchased the Swiss Travel Pass 8 days. This covered travel to and from the hotel in Zurich from Zurich airport and unlimited travel on most trains and trams within Switzerland during our stay. Some recommended trips are between Luzern and Interlaken in both directions, a trip to the town of Brig especially in winter and a trip down to Lugano via Gotthard Basistunnel. Swiss train travel offeres an extensive network, is very clean and on time.
Following AY6 from JFK to HEL and a 6 hour wait in Helsinki Airport we flew on Finnair AY1513 from Helsinki down to Zurich in Switzerland. the aircraft was an Airbus A320 configured in typical Euro business class configuration with the middle seat not used by any passenger. Inflight service was great as we tracked down to Switzerland from Finland.
Following arrival from JFK at 10:00am in the morning on December 28 we had a little over 6 hours before our connecting flight to Zurich departed at 4:30pm. This arrival also meant we cleared immigration and spent most of the time waiting in the Finnair Lounge near Gate 22. There were shower facilities which were clean and well appointed. The range of food and drinks was not very extensive but there are plenty of options out in the main concourse.