Europe

Pope Francis pops out of Vatican to buy new glasses

  • 4 September 2015
  • From the section Europe
Media captionThe Pope was accompanied by an assistant, a bodyguard and several police officers on his visit

Pope Francis drew crowds for an unusual reason on Thursday - after slipping out of the Vatican to visit an optician.

While the optician normally delivers new glasses to the Vatican, Pope Francis insisted on travelling to the shop in central Rome this time.

Large crowds gathered outside the shop as he spent an hour inside, at the end of which he insisted on paying.

Pope Francis has reportedly expressed regret at not being able to walk freely on Rome's streets.

The Pope was accompanied by an assistant, a bodyguard and several police officers on his visit.

A German tourist, Daniel Soehe, said he had failed to see Pope Francis in the Vatican earlier in the day, but then spotted him in the optician's shop.

"I told my father, 'Hey, that was better than going to St Peter's dome: Seeing the Pope in a shop trying on new glasses'," he told the Associated Press news agency.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Large crowds gathered outside the shop as Pope Francis bought new glasses

While archbishop of Buenos Aires, he was often seen travelling on public transport or walking through the city.

In a profile in National Geographic magazine this month, Pope Francis is quoted as saying: "You know how often I've wanted to go walking through the streets of Rome - because in Buenos Aires, I liked to go for a walk in the city.

"I really liked to do that. In this sense, I feel a little penned in."

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