It’s now fairly well known that John Paul II would regularly escape the apostolic palace unannounced, making an estimated 100 clandestine trips to ski or hike in the Italian mountains. According to his long-serving personal secretary, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, the Pope, Dziwisz and two of his Polish aides would pack up the trunk of a car owned by one of the priests, and smuggle themselves out of the Vatican to the nearby towns in the mountains, a couple of hours drive from Rome.
Cardinal Dziwisz, writing in his 2007 book, “A Life with Karol,” recalled that no one would recognize the Pope on the slopes, who would often be wearing sunglasses and be dressed as other skiers, and take his place in the ski lift queues like everyone else.
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