The Pope Takes a Big Gap Year

Today Pope Benedict XVI announced that he was retiring from the Popeship. He claims at 85 he's too old to continue, but we know it's really because he's taking a gap year.

After eight years of being the head of the Roman Catholic Church he's decided to kick back, relax, and enjoy some of the finer things in life. Rumours have it that he's sick and tired of drinking the blood of Christ and he's looking for something a little stronger to get his heart racing.

It's time for the Pope to get away from it all. He's been stood on that balcony for far too long; his arms are weary from waving and he needs to get out and see the world. Although the Pope is already well travelled, there are a few places we think he'd like to see on his gap year.


1. Sorrento

Sorrento

The first stop on Pope Benedict XVI's gap year is Sorrento, Italy. After eight long years in office he'll undoubtedly want to sun himself on the beach and dine out in the famous town square. And with Capri only a stone's throw away he's got plenty to see and do. With only 16,500 inhabitants, Sorrento is quiet enough for the Pope to go unnoticed. However, if he wears his Papal Tiara - his pope's hat - to protect himself from the sun then he may draw unwanted attention to himself.

2. Antarctica

Antarctica

The Pope would definitely enjoy going out into the wilderness of Antarctica. He can replace all the people he has to see every day with penguins (which to some degree look quite similar to Cardinals), and the sunny Vatican with the chilling temperatures of the South Pole. The Antarctic is a unique destination for your gap year, but possibly the only place where the locals won't care for his fame and reputation and he can finally get some peace.

3. Ireland

Ireland

Ireland; the land of green. If there's one thing that you can do in Ireland that doesn't cost a penny, it's walking. Pope Benedict XVI used to love a good ol' walk (what man in his 80s doesn't!), so no doubt he'll get among the countryside and soak up some of the stunning scenery. And what's waiting for him at the end of it? A nice pint of the black stuff in a country pub. Perfect.

4. Austria

Austria

Being a musical man and a huge fan of Mozart, where better a place for the Pope to visit than Vienna, Austria? It was here that Mozart composed some of his best-known symphonies. The Pope may enjoy a trip to the Mozarthus Vienna, a centre devoted to the man whose music he described to have 'deeply penetrated his soul' as a young boy. And if that gets him in the mood for a boogie, he could always take himself on to the Prater Dome, home of Austria's largest disco.

5. Benidorm

Benidorm

There's no doubt in our minds that the Pope would like to just chill out with all the other silver sunbathers in Benidorm. He could find himself a nice wife now that he's no longer married to the church and spend the rest of his days sucking on lollipops on the beach and popping into the nearby grand Valencia churches every Sunday to keep up the religion. With jet skis, catamaran sailing and paragliding there's no chance of him getting bored in his retirement and we're sure he'll become a regular at the Aqualandia Theme Park and Terra Natura Park too.

6. Israel

Israel

Now that the Pope has resigned he's going to have a lot of free time on his hands. No doubt the Holy Lands will be on his list of places to go to on his gap year. In Jerusalem he'll be able to see the birth place of Christ (we think he'd go barmy for that) and maybe mix it up by praying at the Wailing Wall. A fiery character, the main religions of Israel are Christianity, Islam and Judaism, meaning Pope Benedict XVI can enjoy a healthy debate long into the night over a sheesha and a kebab.

7. Germany

Germany

It's been a long time since Benedict XVI's been back to his home nation of Germany and we're sure he'd love to get lost among lederhosens and leberkäses once again. Born in Bavaria, we think the Pope's got some partying left in him in Berlin, a place famous for its pounding techno beats. If not, something that's right up the Pope's street is Kiel Week, the world's largest sailing event and also the biggest summer festival in northern Europe; with his Pope's robes we think he'd be a master knot-tier.


Featured image contributed by Sergey Gabdurakhmanov