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Germany

Pope's Home State Offers Ratzinger Tours

Tourism officials in Joseph Ratzinger's German home state of Bavaria have started marketing a five-day tour "in the footsteps of Pope Benedict XVI" to meet surging demand from pilgrims. Thousands of students and Roman Catholics have descended on the state since the pope's election Tuesday, the Bavarian Tourism Marketing (BTM) agency said Thursday. The official tour will take in his birthplace, the storybook village Marktl am Inn, as well as Pentling, where Ratzinger owns a home. Visitors will also travel to Traunstein, where Ratzinger spent his childhood and attended a seminary, and the state capital Munich, where he studied and served as archbishop, as well as Altötting, the site of an important Roman Catholic shrine. The trip will end in Regensburg, home of a university where Ratzinger taught and where his elder brother Georg was director of the renowned youth choir the Domspatzen. The final stop on the tour will include Pope Benedict's XVI's favorite meal, a healthy portion of Bavarian potato ravioli and pancake strips. BTM said it had contacted major tour operators around the world and provided them with the outlines of the recommended package.

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