I have a very good family friend in Germany, they live in Miesbach in the southern state of Bavaria, Christian Beil and his Filipina wife Astrid, and their two sons Luis and Simon. This family has hosted me twice in their house in Germany, in October 2003 and in November 2008.
Christian briefly worked here in Manila as a consultant for GTZ, then he met Astrid, his officemate, and several Filipino divers. One of such divers, Mark Agaloos, is a good friend of mine, my "best man" actually in my wedding, and he introduced me to Christian and the other divers. I was the only non-diver who used to hang out with the group then, way back in 2000-2001 I think.
The boys are big now, am happy for Christian and Astrid. Miesbach is at the foot of the mountains of Bavaria, so they near the snow area. The boys love the ice.
Upper photo below, I think this is in Salzburg, Austria. Christian brought me there too in 2008.
Look here, a huge lego car, by Hyundai, not BMW or Benz or Audi.
In 2008, after my week long seminar in Gummersbach near Cologne, organized and sponsored by the FNF, I took the train to Miesbach. I arrived there evening. The next day, Christian immediately brought me to a nearby mountain! What could be a one hour hike became nearly two hours as my legs and lungs were in deep rust for such a hike.
And the next day after, Christian brought me to a glacier in Austria, my first and last visit to a glacier! It's 3,029 meters above sea level, much higher than Mt. Apo, the Philippines' highest mountain at around 2,990 meters.
The two boys in November 2008. Lower photo, with Christian's father (leftmost) and mother (between me and Christian) and their friends. I think that was my last day in Germany that time and would fly back to Manila the next day.
Christian, Astrid, thanks again for all the hospitality. See you again here in Manila, or I hope to go back to Germany again in the near future.
Merry Christmas, happy holidays.