Having my birthday in Istanbul has been one of the best ideas I have had. It is not only a beautiful city, but it is also full of lovely people. I arrived there with the flu and I left with an excellent health, so I don’t know if it also has some special trick to change someone’s life overnight.

I was enthralled with the fact that there, cats are the kings, but, too stray dogs are quiet and happy. They are included in a register (they wear a badge in their ear saying so), they are sterilized and well breed, because there are several feeding points for dogs or cats, as well as veterinary care. Dogs have a completely free reign in the city and they sleep wherever they like with no fear for people. A good sign for the inhabitants of a city no doubt ahead, it would be good if we learned a little from it.

On my birthday, the jazz guitar player Erhan Ersin had prepared me a wonderful surprise, it was a guitar-birthday cake he had copied from my great-grandfather’s tablao guitar which is in our website. He scanned the image and then constructed it step by step, the guitar-cake that we happily ate at night in a bar terrace. My dear friend Montse came with me to the celebration and participated actively in that delicious and original cake with Erhan.

The next day Ahmet Persen picked me up from the hotel to meet in one of the shops of Dore Music, my distributors in Turkey, and afterwards we went to the historic shop Cinilihan where we had a meeting to talk about my family of guitar makers and about our guitars with a group of people including teachers, amateurs and the Dore Music team. My friend Erhan Ersin acted as a translator and afterwards he played some of the exhibited guitars. The speech was live broadcasted in Youtube, and more than 150 people attended it online, apart from those who were actually in the room. Among the people who attended the meeting were the organizers of the Istanbul Classical Guitar Festival, Cem Küçümen and Ahmet Sadi Ensari and also professor Orhan Ümmetler. I was invited to participate in the next Guitar Festival, but I already have a commitment for the due date in April 2016, so we have arranged to get organized to go in the next edition in 2017.

Ahmet regaled us with a typical Turkish dinner in a long standing restaurant. Excellent and inexhaustible.

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