Pope John Paul II, who recently returned from his 69th foreign tour, said Sunday he hopes to keep up his travels.
The 75-year-old pontiff, suffering from a cold which aides said was a result of his tour through Latin America, accepted a white backpack from a youth group during a visit to a parish in a working-class neighborhood of Rome.
“I used to be a hiker. But now I’ve become rather a traveler,” the pope said. Recalling that he had just returned from a weeklong trip to Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Venezuela, he said, “I hope to continue on this path.”
The pope plans at least three more trips this year, all in Europe. Countries on his itinerary include Germany, Slovenia and France.