Hallo, Deutschland

Here, where the Neckar (meaning "wild water") River meanders through the Baroque-style Old Town, the Heidelberg Castle has been holding watch from atop Königstuhl Hill since the early 1200s. A breathtakingly imposing sight in its own right, the castle's stunning ruins remain among the most important existing Renaissance structures north of the Alps.

Cobblestones pave the way to storied corners, to door frames literally etched by history and bricks cracked by labor, love and loss. More than 800 years of life cradled here in this beautiful nook of the world (among so many others): preserved, celebrated and revered.

What a joy to discover it -- a reminder that there's so much left to learn.