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  • Sue Stipek

Smartphone Updated from Serbia

Well as it happens it was very important that we had a smartphone with us as we left Romania. We spent our last night in Romania at a lovely hotel in downtown Pitesti estimated to be about an hour and half from the Bucharest airport. It was a straight forward route to return the car and go to airport for a late afternoon flight - expressway to beltway and then a short turn to the Klass Wagon facility. Well the "beltway" is not straight forward . It is called Centru Bucharest - which we thought meant to the center of Bucharest which we wanted to avoid.

Well we passed the turnoff to the Centru Bucharest and headed into the city. AAAAAAAAAAAAhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Traffic was awful and I soon realized that I had made a mistake but didn't know a way out. Thank god for Google Maps. What should have taken an hour and half took 2 and a half hours.

We returned the car on time and were taken to the airport for a 6 hour wait for our flight to Serbia.

We got to Belgrade at 7PM. Our reservation was for a hotel in the center of the old town near the National Museum. But we saw in the guide book that taxis were notorious for overcharging and the bus was quick and cheap.

Arrival at Belgrade was easy and were greeted at baggage claim with an information booth. WOW! Paper maps -- tourist infrastructure was noticeably better than Romania. We easily found the bus and were on our way to the downtown.

But our optimism faded at the end of the line. It was dark and difficult to orient and read street signage (or find it). We ended up at a bar and the owner spoke English and helped us with finding where we needed to go. I pulled up Google Maps again and followed the walking navigation to the hotel. It was only about 15 minutes away. Night in a strange city can be off putting but traffic was light and the people were nice and the city clean but old.

We got to our hotel, beautiful new boutique property and was given an upgraded room with a rooftop terrace. Absolutely lovely. And they were trying something new. They were giving all clients a free Smartphone to use during their stay. You could carry the concierge in your pocket.

Ah well .......... I guess I'll need to get with the program. ..

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