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What it’s like to holiday at the beach resort where Madeleine McCann went missing

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What it’s like to holiday at the beach resort where Madeleine McCann went missing

Post by Google.Gaspar.Statements on 24.06.14 8:29

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/travel/travel-news/what-its-like-to-holiday-at-the-beach-resort-where-madeleine-mccann-went-missing/story-fnjjv9zk-1226964726378

What it’s like to holiday at the beach resort where Madeleine McCann went missing

THE warm Mediterranean sun shines down on the blinding white sands of the popular Portuguese holiday resort of Praia da Luz as holiday makers laze under thatched umbrellas and children paddle in the shallow turquoise waters of the protected little bay with the spectacular but imposing Rocha Negra (Black Rock) looming in the background.

The scene is idyllic, but just kilometres up the road scores of British police and sniffer dogs have spent the last three weeks digging up and scouring the sandy red soil on the outskirts of the picturesque Algarve village for long-buried clues to finally solve one of Europe’s biggest mysteries.

It was in this picture-perfect family holiday setting that the now famous British toddler Madeleine McCann went missing from her family’s holiday villa just over seven years ago and became the focus of the most heavily reported missing person case in modern history.

The details of the final hours before Madeleine’s disappearance on the evening of May 3, 2007 are well documented, but despite an intense seven-year investigation conducted by law enforcement authorities on both the Portuguese and British side of the Atlantic, as well as private investigators hired by the McCann family, the fate of the cherubic-looking three-year-old remains a mystery.

The seemingly cold case of the missing youngster reared its head again a month ago when Scotland Yard sought permission from the local Portuguese authorities to probe a previously unsearched area of scrubland just a few minutes’ walk from the Ocean Club resort where the McCann family were staying on the night of their daughter’s disappearance.

It is unclear what new clues or evidence the British police were basing their latest search on, but once again, the now-familiar foreign police, forensic officers, sniffer dogs, radar equipment, and of course the attendant media pack, have invaded the small holiday town.

For Praia da Luz locals, this latest development is just another chapter in the never-ending story of Madeleine McCann, which for the past seven years has turned their previously quiet, unassuming hometown into an international circus and destroyed its reputation as a safe, peaceful family holiday destination.

The case has become Portugal’s Azaria Chamberlain case - the crime that has everyone talking but no one knows the answers.

The friendly hospitality staff at the local hotels and restaurants are happy to chat about the weather, the catch of the day and the best local tourist attractions, but just don’t mention the M word.

But like everyone else that has ever read, listened or watched any media coverage about the case, they too, have their theories about Maddie’s disappearance.

One resident who ran another holiday resort in the town at the time of Maddie’s disappearance tells of one local theory that was doing the rounds when the case first came to light.

Drainage work was taking place to pipes in the town around the time and deep holes were dotted around the town. Some of the drains were filled in and covered over a day after Madeleine went missing. Some locals believe the toddler either wandered out of her room in search of her parents and tumbled into one of the pits, others think whoever attempted to abduct her may have panicked and dumped her body into one of the holes in an attempt to cover their tracks and then absconded.

The latest search seems to give weight to these theories, with ground-penetrating radar equipment being deployed to search a hole which was previously hidden by thick undergrowth.

But as the search enters its next phase and no major clues materialise, life goes on for the locals and visitors down the road in Praia da Luz.

Although it is only early June and the beginning of the Northern hemisphere summer holiday season, Europeans, mainly Brits, have already begun trickling into town.

During the days, the beach is dotted with sun-seeking holiday makers swimming, sunbathing and paddle boarding in the still-chilly Mediterranean Sea, and by night the many restaurants, cafes and bars along the waterfront are filling up with foreign visitors drinking jugs of sangria and bottles of Sagres (the local beer), eating the delicious fresh local sardines, clams and prawns and cheering their respective teams on in the World Cup.

Most seem oblivious to the excavation work taking place nearby, or if they are aware of it, they don’t appear bothered. Parents with toddlers still walk the cobblestone streets at night, I even saw a blonde-haired little girl in pink pyjamas bearing a strong resemblance to Madeleine being pushed down the beachside promenade in a stroller one night.

But just a few blocks back from the beach, the Ocean Club seems a little quieter. Out by the main pool, the courtyard that previously housed the infamous tapas restaurant where the McCanns and their travelling companions dined that fateful night while their children slept over the other side of the pool has now been converted into a bar and the restaurant moved to another location.

When asking for a cocktail around the 7pm one balmy night, the barman tells us the bar is closed for the evening and to perhaps head to the resort’s other bars, The Mill Pond or the Mirage, for a drink instead. The pool is empty and all the deckchairs are deserted even though it is still 25C and the sun doesn’t go down til 9pm in these parts at this time of year.

Other than an unmanned desk with a sign on the front door that announces: “Welcome to the Garden. Please show your Ocean Club passes to reception before entering the pool area” there is nothing to suggest anything more sinister than a bad sunburn or ant bite has ever taken place inside the resort walls.
Despite the relative calm in town, the long-running investigation has nevertheless taken its toll on the relationship between the local Portuguese residents and the British police.

Graffiti sprayed on a wall on the southern outskirts of town sums up the local sentiment: “Policia Ingesa estupidos”. Translated into English, it reads: “English police are stupid”.

Matters weren’t helped early on in the case when the British media accused the Portuguese police of bungling the initial investigation.

But it is a catch 22 for local businesses and tourism operators. Most of their business comes from the British tourism market, evidenced by the fact that almost all locals speak fluent English and all restaurant menus and even road signs are also in English. They can’t afford to lose this sector of the market.

So the search for Maddie goes on and life in Luz goes on.

I asked a female employee of a local riding school who was a schoolgirl at the time of Madeleine’s disappearance what her thoughts were on the case.

She shrugged her shoulders and said: “I don’t know, no one knows. We just want it to be over.”

Words that I am sure the McCann family and everyone else involved the case would agree with.

But it seems this story won’t have a happy fairy tale ending.

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Re: What it’s like to holiday at the beach resort where Madeleine McCann went missing

Post by Justiceseeker on 24.06.14 8:43

Any article that states "the mediteranean " instantly makes me stop reading. Incredibly poor journalism.

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Re: What it’s like to holiday at the beach resort where Madeleine McCann went missing

Post by HelenMeg on 24.06.14 9:01

@Justiceseeker wrote:Any article that states "the mediteranean " instantly makes me stop reading. Incredibly poor journalism.
Absolutely - it's disgraceful they cant get that right .

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Re: What it’s like to holiday at the beach resort where Madeleine McCann went missing

Post by PeterMac on 24.06.14 9:02

Gerry thought they were on the Mediterranean, and that Portugal did not have a Navy !!

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Re: What it’s like to holiday at the beach resort where Madeleine McCann went missing

Post by Miraflores on 24.06.14 9:06

@Justiceseeker wrote:Any article that states "the mediteranean " instantly makes me stop reading. Incredibly poor journalism.

Quite, although the Atlantic current washing past the coast of Portugal will be relatively warm, being a branch of the Gulf Stream, it won't be as warm as the Mediterranean. Even that won't be all that warm in April/May.

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Re: What it’s like to holiday at the beach resort where Madeleine McCann went missing

Post by Guest on 24.06.14 9:17

Interesting article, if true we know:
The Met are still digging-without media coverage
They mention all who have searched including private detectives-so Goncalo Amaral hasn't stopped people looking.
The area is still full of British tourists- they feel safe.
I've never seen it written before that there was a pool separating the tapas restaurant from the apartment.
That the story won't have a happy ending-despite the constant reminders from mcs that there is no proof of harm.

The Mediterranean and the use of the word abducted is ridiculous.




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Re: What it’s like to holiday at the beach resort where Madeleine McCann went missing

Post by ChippyM on 24.06.14 9:33

Bellisa wrote:Interesting article, if true we know:
The Met are still digging-without media coverage
........

 I noticed that too, is the mention of '3 weeks' an innacuracy or are things still going on?  I'm sure a poster here said not all the UK police had gone home on the last day of the 'digs'.

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Re: What it’s like to holiday at the beach resort where Madeleine McCann went missing

Post by Guest on 24.06.14 9:54

@ChippyM wrote:
Bellisa wrote:Interesting article, if true we know:
The Met are still digging-without media coverage
........

 I noticed that too, is the mention of '3 weeks' an innacuracy or are things still going on?  I'm sure a poster here said not all the UK police had gone home on the last day of the 'digs'.
"Although it is only early June"
The article was probably written a couple of weeks ago.
So not an accurate reflection of current activity.

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Re: What it’s like to holiday at the beach resort where Madeleine McCann went missing

Post by suzyjohnson on 24.06.14 10:05

' ............ Scotland Yard sought permission from the local Portuguese authorities to probe a previously unsearched area of scrubland just a few minutes’ walk from the Ocean Club resort ............'


Except that the land was thoroughly searched at the time. But it was obvious to the PJ that the ground hadn't been dug, as Peter Mac tells us, the ground is too hard to dig without equipment.


I read in one of the newspapers that SY, having arrived in PdL to start digging, had said they were surprised that the ground was so hard ie undiggable. It's embarressing, why don't they listen to what the PJ are trying to tell them? 




 

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Re: What it’s like to holiday at the beach resort where Madeleine McCann went missing

Post by beijos on 24.06.14 10:10

@suzyjohnson wrote:' ............ Scotland Yard sought permission from the local Portuguese authorities to probe a previously unsearched area of scrubland just a few minutes’ walk from the Ocean Club resort ............'


Except that the land was thoroughly searched at the time. But it was obvious to the PJ that the ground hadn't been dug, as Peter Mac tells us, the ground is too hard to dig without equipment.


I read in one of the newspapers that SY, having arrived in PdL to start digging, had said they were surprised that the ground was so hard ie undiggable. It's embarressing, why don't they listen to what the PJ are trying to tell them? 




 
 Also, quite a few local residents searched the area (including partially built houses) a number of times in the days immediately following Madeleines disappearance.

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Re: What it’s like to holiday at the beach resort where Madeleine McCann went missing

Post by jeanmonroe on 24.06.14 15:29

Photo from the original 'article.


In recent weeks, police converged on a search site near the Praia da Luz beach in an attempt to finally solve the mystery of what happened to Madeleine McCann.

Operation Grange 'reveal' their latest weapon in their £8+ million, 'search' for Madeleine.

Well, THAT SY/MET 'excavator', ready to 'dig up' PDL, certainly knocks PM's LEGO 'digger' into a cocked hat!

Probably explains what the 38 'elites' were doing to relax 'after work', digging all day, in PDL!

DCI Mahogany said: "if we have to use an excavator, it will be the BEST excavator, in the world, probably"

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Re: What it’s like to holiday at the beach resort where Madeleine McCann went missing

Post by Newintown on 24.06.14 15:51

@Miraflores wrote:
@Justiceseeker wrote:Any article that states "the mediteranean " instantly makes me stop reading. Incredibly poor journalism.

Quite, although the Atlantic current washing past the coast of Portugal will be relatively warm, being a branch of the Gulf Stream, it won't be as warm as the Mediterranean. Even that won't be all that warm in April/May.

I just wanted to state that I went to the Algarve many years ago (Albufeira) before the McCanns destroyed its reputation and although I went in the summer period the sea was bl**dy freezing.   smilie

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Re: What it’s like to holiday at the beach resort where Madeleine McCann went missing

Post by MaybeMaybenot on 24.06.14 15:55

@jeanmonroe wrote:Photo from the original 'article.


In recent weeks, police converged on a search site near the Praia da Luz beach in an attempt to finally solve the mystery of what happened to Madeleine McCann.

Operation Grange 'reveal' their latest weapon in their £8+ million, 'search' for Madeleine.

Well, THAT SY/MET 'excavator', ready to 'dig up' PDL, certainly knocks PM's LEGO 'digger' into a cocked hat!

Probably explains what the 38 'elites' were doing to relax 'after work', digging all day, in PDL!

DCI Mahogany said: "if we have to use an excavator, it will be the BEST excavator, in the world, probably"
Sometimes I wonder....a false walk

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Re: What it’s like to holiday at the beach resort where Madeleine McCann went missing

Post by Brian Griffin on 24.06.14 17:00

Google.Gaspar.Statement wrote:

Graffiti sprayed on a wall on the southern outskirts of town sums up the local sentiment: “Policia Ingesa estupidos”. Translated into English, it reads: “English police are stupid”.
I doubt even the English are that bad at Portuguese!

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Re: What it’s like to holiday at the beach resort where Madeleine McCann went missing

Post by Okeydokey on 24.06.14 23:48

@Justiceseeker wrote:Any article that states "the mediteranean " instantly makes me stop reading. Incredibly poor journalism.

An absolute schoolboy error! The Med!! LOL One dip in the sea will tell you it's not the Med!  spin 

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