European capitals of culture 2010: Pecs, Essen, and Istanbul

Istanbul

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European capitals of culture sounds exactly like what it’s intended to be: a rotating yearly appointment of cities around Europe, with the mandate to give tourism a boost.

Because let’s face it, packaged-tour tourists, and those coming for the sun and the beach will most likely not stray far beyond hot spots like Paris, Rome, Majorca and St. Tropez.

So this year, Pecs (Hungary), Essen (Germany), and Istanbul (Turkey) are the lucky hosts.

I know little about Hungary, or Essen.

But I have to say that the Turkish tourism industry is of the most coherent and best-marketed locales out there.  Having travelled all around the country on some pretty modern and comfortable busses, mostly by myself, it is safe and friendly.  And outside the hustle and bustle of Istanbul – which can be somewhat unnerving for lone females, very few people will bother you.

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