So, yes, I did find the Costa Coffee in New Belgrade. The shuttle to the airport did not leave until 11 a.m., so I was able to take a final walk. The Costa Coffee was only a few minutes from Pet Centar. Customers were smoking inside, which meant I preferred to sit outside. A large vanilla latte. Heaven!
Thank you to the Crown Prince and Crown Princess for their invitation. I am glad I went back to Serbia. I saw so many positive changes. More banks, certainly more cars on the road. Traffic jams are a sign of prosperity. Only a few Yugos. Two new shopping centers. The same chains that you would see in European or American malls have opened in Belgrade. KFC, McDonald's, of course. McDonald's has been in Belgrade for some years. No Starbucks ... yet. That's okay ... I found my Costa!
Five years ago, I was able to find one place on the Prince Michael street, where I could purchase a fridge magnet. Now plenty of souvenir kiosks with fridge magnets for sale. I found one of the Royal Palace! That's a true positive sign. The country is embracing tourism and its history, Streets names have been restored to their pre-communist names. Serbia is also experiencing the growth of trade and investment by the European Union and European and American corporations. U.S. Steel, Microsoft and Coca-Cola are among the major American corporations investing in Serbia.
There are no direct flights from the USA to Belgrade. The most efficient way is to fly to Frankfurt with a connecting flight to Belgrade. I booked my flight on British Airways, which was less expensive than Lufthansa. There was one catch, though. My flight arrived in London just after 9:00 a.m,, which meant I would miss that day's flight to Belgrade. (It leaves at 8:30 in the morning.) Oh dear. I would have to stay overnight in London ... what a hardship! :)
I think it is important to learn one word in the language of the country you are visiting. Younger people speak English, and Serbians are very friendly. They will go out of their way to show you how to get to a destination.
The Serbian word for Thank you is Hvala.
British Airways will stop flying to Belgrade in November. Serbia's national airline, JAT, does fly between the two capitals, and Whizz! Airlines offers service from Luton to Belgrade. Not sure if I want to fly on an airline with the name Whizz!
(I did the first one)
Princess Katherine's charities
Tours of the Royal Palace are available.
The two royal palaces in Belgrade are not open to the public. The Old Palace is the home of the Serbian President. The New Palace is the city government ... and tourists are not allowed in.