John Paul II Goes for a Drive

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, JULY 15, 2003 ( John Paul II enjoyed his first car ride during his holiday at the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo.

The Pope left the residence about 30 kilometers (18 miles) south of Rome in the morning Monday and spent the day outdoors, accompanied by a "very small" group of persons, unofficial Vatican sources reported.

The destination of the Holy Father's outing was not revealed, although he likely went to the so-called area of the Roman Castles near his residence -- where, in fact, there are no castles but old villas and small palaces, once the property of nobles.

The Pope is spending a good part of his holidays reading, especially in the Moor's Garden. Among other things, he is writing a book on his episcopal ministry.