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Benedict XVI was on the balcony at Castel Gandolfo for a little over a minute, speaking his last public words as pope.
"I am simply a pilgrim who is starting the last part of his journey,'' the 85-year-old told the crowd, wearing only a white robe in the chilly evening air.
They shouted back "Long live the pope!''
"Thank you, goodnight!'' Benedict replied before going back inside the palace.
A few minutes later, aides came out on the balcony, pulled off the papal banner, rolled it up and brought it inside the palace. The glass doors to the balcony were quickly clicked shut and the white curtains behind them tightly drawn.
Within seconds, the crowd of a few thousand in the piazza dwindled to a few hundred.