After graduating High School, two of my best friends and I backpacked across Italy in what I can only describe as the best experience of my life. Nicolo, my friend on the left, has family in Italy, so we basically got free room and board for half of our trip. We flew into Milan and stayed with his Uncle for two days before traveling up to Courmayeur where we had the privilege of crashing at his family's cottage up in the Italian Alps. For the next three days, we went on 10 hour hikes surrounded by the most sublime landscapes I have ever witnessed. The coolest part was that we were able to refill our water bottles with glacier water that had melted from the peaks of the Mountains.
After we had our fill of hiking the Alps, we stayed in Bogliasco (a small port city outside Genoa) with Nicky's Grandmother, where she grew her own basil and made the best pesto I've ever had in my life. After a few days, Alan and I traveled to Rome and Florence for a bit where we did a whole lot of sight seeing. And even though you aren't suppose to take pictures of this fresco... I just couldn't help myself.
My flight back to the states departed from Paris, so I got to explore the "City of Love" for 5 days by myself bouncing from one hostel to the next. While I was there, I visited the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the catacombs, and the Garden of Versailles. My trip was 17 days in total, and I wouldn't trade it for any other experience in the world.