The Pope left the chalet in the village of Les Combes at midday today by car for a drive to the nearby mountains.

According to Osvaldo Naudin, the mayor of Introd where Les Comes is located, the Pope "likes the climate, the snowcapped mountains, and the people, because they are very reserved, they are not obsessed with seeing him at all costs, thus respecting his rest."

"They know he comes to rest, to pray and to meditate, and they leave him in peace," he added in statements reported on Vatican Radio.

"Yesterday I greeted the Pope and found him in good humor," the mayor added. "It augurs well at the start of his holiday."

The Pontiff is accompanied on this vacation by his personal secretary, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, and Father Tadeusz Styczen, who succeeded Karol Wojtyla in the chair of the University of Lublin, in Poland. The vacation runs until July 17.