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Pilgrims overwhelm Polish transport


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Mourners say they'll wait in line as long as it takes.

Pope John Paul II's body is carried to St. Peter's Basilica.
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KRAKOW, Poland (CNN) -- Unprecedented numbers of Poles are overwhelming their country's transport system as they attempt to make it to the Vatican to pay their respects to Pope John Paul II.

The desire for last-minute seats to Rome comes amid disappointment in Poland that the pontiff's body will not be returned to his homeland for burial.

A Web site that advertised 4,000-plus train seats to Rome got more than 1 million hits in 15 minutes, causing the site to collapse.

In Warsaw, the faithful snapped up seats on all the remaining flights to Rome for the rest of the week.

Plans are being made for charter flights to accommodate more pilgrims wishing to travel to the Vatican.

In John Paul II's hometown, Wadowice, bus tickets were being sold to Rome.

Four buses will carry about 200 people to Italy for the pontiff's funeral Friday.

In Krakow, a spontaneous youth march in honor of the pope caught authorities off guard.

About 150,000 young Poles marched the streets in a tribute to John Paul II.

The Monday evening march was organized over the Internet and via mobile phone text messages.

The Vatican said Monday that John Paul II left no instructions regarding his funeral and burial.

He was the first non-Italian pope in 455 years, and some had wondered whether he might ask to be buried in his homeland.

Since no instructions were left, cardinals plan to follow tradition and bury him in St. Peter's Basilica.

Poles, however, hope that somehow the pontiff's heart will be brought back to their country.

Asked by CNN if the late pope's heart could be brought to Poland if and when he is beatified -- the first step toward sainthood -- Father Janusz Bielanski, canon of Wawel Cathedral, said, "Yes." (Full story)

It would not be the first time the heart of a countryman returned there -- composer Frederic Chopin is buried in France, but his heart is in an urn in a Warsaw church.

CNN's Walt Rodgers contributed to this report


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