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Trip to Huelva

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Trip to Huelva

Post by PeterMac on 16.08.11 17:14

The trip to Huelva
p 205 We are told that the McCanns wanted to go to Huelva on Thursday 2nd August. The intention was to take Jon Corner and a colleague, (unnamed) to do filming and to see several of the British journalists, to write a story about Madeleine. In the event they did not go as the PJ wanted to look at some clothing and so on.
p. 207 “We finally made it to Huelva the following morning, so all was not lost on that front - even if we did discover is was a public holiday. It didn’t matter: the local people were kind and obliging and we came back feeling that it had been a very productive trip.”

from Gerry’s blog - http://www.gerrymccannsblogs.co.uk/DAYS_51_to_100.htm
Day 92 - 03/08/2007 - Friday
"It is exactly 3 months since Madeleine was abducted. Kate and I had an early start as we drove to Huelva, 50 Km over the border from Portugal in Southern Spain. We were meant to go yesterday but had to cancel because I was ill.

Unfortunately it was a public holiday in Huelva and the large shopping centre we planned to visit was closed. We did distribute posters in several garages, taxi ranks and the bus and train stations and gave out some Madeleine wristbands. This was definitely a worthwhile exercise, as many people did not seemingly recognise Madeleine but we did get a very warm response from the Spanish people we met. We would encourage everyone to continue taking posters on holiday but please ask permission before putting them up in public places."


To get to Huelva from Praia da Luz, you go east along the motorway, and cross the border, finally crossing the big bridge over the river Tinto. Google maps gives the distance as 189 KM, and a conservative driving time of 1 hr 58 minutes.

To get there you pass the Portuguese towns of Lagos, Portimão, Albufeira, Faro, Tavira, Vila Real de Santo Antonio
Populations 30,700; 50,500; 13,600; 42,000; 10,600; 18,000
A total of 165,000 All Portuguese. All closer to PdL than Huelva

The ‘Public Holiday” that both Kate and Gerry refer to is the annual Feria de Columbinas. It is deemed the second most important in Andalucia, and involves an entire week of drinking, dancing, bullfight every afternoon for 6 days, horse shows, flamenco, jazz, pop music, fireworks, and general Spanish festivity.

That day, 3rd August 2007, yet another three of Spain top Bullfighters were performing, Enrique Ponce, “El Cid” and Castella. Imagine Man U.-v-Everton and you get the idea of the importance and the level of excitement.

The town would have been solid. No one misses Feria. No one works during Feria. The shops are shut. Every single resident of Huelva would have been out somewhere. Streets blocked off round the bullring and the feria site, small temporary bars erected in the streets, people would be eating tapas and drinking manzanilla, dancing impromptu Sevillianas, the girls and women would be in their full ‘flamenco’ finery with Montillas and veils, many of the men in riding outfits or sporting ‘Cordoba’ hats, there would have been horses in full Spanish regalia parading up and down, often with a ‘senorita’ side-saddle on a lambswool pad behind the ‘caballero’. And the children ! More fuss being made of the children than of anything else. Every one would be dressed up, even the tinies in their prams.

It is NOT a Bank Holiday in the British sense.


And the only thing they both say about that trip, is that the people were “kind and obliging”,and "we got a warm response" .

Nothing about the heart strings being torn by seeing all the children, nothing about fighting through the traffic, nothing about the queues, the traffic jams, the organised chaos, the impossibility of parking anywhere within 10 miles, nothing about the wonderful tapas they had in the square at lunch time, or the Manzanilla or the Fino they tasted with these wonderful people, and how they were bought drinks and treated to tapas and how they .....
Nothing.
Nada.
Silencio total.
Which leads me to ask -
Did they in fact go to Huelva that day ?
Or did they go somewhere else entirely ?

And if they did go to Huelva either that day, or at all. Why ?

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A quiet public holiday?

Post by Guest on 16.08.11 17:30

Thanks for this interesting observation PeterMac. I'd got the impression from what I've read about the McCanns' visit to Huelva that it must have been similar to the way Sundays were in my childhood many years ago - everywhere shut and as dead as a doornail. Is this the place they went to (or so they say) rather than following up what seemed to be a promising sighting of a child in Belgium (I think) who could have been Madeleine? It's very strange, it doesn't seem that they can have gone there after all.
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Re: Trip to Huelva

Post by PeterMac on 16.08.11 18:19

I haven't dwelt much on the timing.
Creche opens 0900.
2 hours drive to get there. At least an hour to park and orientate oneself, have a coffee and a wee, visit bus station, visit rail station, visit taxi ranks, visit garages, lunch, time to get out of town, which during Feria could easily be half an hour, then drive back - another 2 hours
We are talking about a good 8 hour day. Exhausting, hot, sweaty.

And there is no mention of the arrangements for the two remaining children. They are simply not important enough to be included in this narrative.

But as Gerry said, "This was definitely a worthwhile exercise, as many people did not seemingly recognise Madeleine"
Why would they ? They were in a foreign country.

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Re: Trip to Huelva

Post by Guest on 16.08.11 18:45

I was just reading through this last night, not sure if you have seen it.

http://www.mccannfiles.com/id168.html
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Amaral has his own ideas

Post by tigger on 16.08.11 18:51

Marian wrote:Thanks for this interesting observation PeterMac. I'd got the impression from what I've read about the McCanns' visit to Huelva that it must have been similar to the way Sundays were in my childhood many years ago - everywhere shut and as dead as a doornail. Is this the place they went to (or so they say) rather than following up what seemed to be a promising sighting of a child in Belgium (I think) who could have been Madeleine? It's very strange, it doesn't seem that they can have gone there after all.

Amaral has mentioned the trip as well, saying something about their not being where they should have been, or visiting locations he found strange.
So how did he know? Satelite? Anyway he knows. They know he knows. They're sticking with the story.
I had the same idea, dullish bank holiday with all the shops closed. Nothing about the carnaval!
I think they went to Germany when the sighting in Belgium was being investigated. Interviews, ££££! You'd think they could have made a quick stopover at least!

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Re: Trip to Huelva

Post by PeterMac on 16.08.11 20:38

Molly wrote:I was just reading through this last night, not sure if you have seen it.
http://www.mccannfiles.com/id168.html
No I hadn't. Very many thanks for the link
It makes a lot of things fairly clear.

They travelled along the motorway, the big suspension bridge with the central pillar which we see at 2:30 is at the Portugal / Spain Border over the river.
The filling station where they stuck up the posters and spoke to the taxi driver is on the N 441, which is a small length of road leading south off the motoway into Huelva.
We can see the sign clearly at 2:30.
Going this way gives a google reading of 195 km and 2 hours driving.

We also see them handing out an English language poster to a woman who is plainly Muslem and therefore Spanish and / or Arabic speaking !
But the Spanish language poster is also intersting, in view of what another thread has talked about
I shall try to reproduce it here


AYUDANOS A ENCONTRAR
A NUESTRA HIJA
MADELEINE

Usual photos !

POR FAVOR

ESTATE ATENTO / A
SI LA VES
PONTE EN CONTACTO
CON LA POLICIA LOCAL
[and then another word I cannot freeze]

Every one of the struck out 'Os' above is a coloboma trademark sign.

The one - Which to be honest they didn't make much of - ?

I can find no details of date or time.
But what is also fairly obvious is that had they gone right into Huelva, Jon Corner would not have been able to stop himself including something about the Feria.
The fact that he didn't is very telling.
Quote from Mccannfiles
The timeline, according to The Sun, is as follows:
09:00 Leave Praia da Luz
12:15 Arrive Huelva (expected at 11:00am)
13:00 Distribute leaflets and posters at train station
13:30 Distribute leaflets and posters at cathedral
14:00 Distribute leaflets and posters at bus station
14:20 Leave to return to Praia da Luz

2 hours drive there, 2 hours there, 2 hours back ?
¿ Que ?
The Cathedral is only three blocks south of the Bullring, which was to hold one of the most important and prestigious Corridas of the year in only a few hours time.
But no one mentioned that they couldn't get near.
They don't try to say how difficult it was to find anywhere to park.
There is nothing on the film to show how religious they are, visiting a cathedral.

Where did they actually go ?

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Re: Trip to Huelva

Post by Guest on 16.08.11 21:27

PeterMac wrote:

Where did they actually go ?

That's what I was thinking about all day today Peter..

3 months to the day after Madeleine disappeared too. Very strange.
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Re: Trip to Huelva

Post by Gillyspot on 16.08.11 21:52

Few more quotes & articles about Huelva (none mention anything special going on!)

From the Daily Mail

“On August 3, we made the 55-mile journey to Huelva, the closest Spanish city to Praia da Luz, to distribute Find Madeleine posters and talk to locals.
It was a visit that would later assume significance, for all the wrong reasons. For it would be later suggested that Madeleine's body was disposed of at this point. How this could be thought possible, I have no idea.

Kate and Gerry were, after all, accompanied by a cameraman, who was filming a documentary, and Kate's old friend Jon Corner.
And as always their every move was shadowed by reporters and photographers. If they had dumped Madeleine's body, someone surely would have witnessed something.”

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-562294/I-feel-desperately-Kate-McCann--life-ruined-loathes-spotlight.html#ixzz1VE640Pov

From the New Scotsman

“Gerry and Kate McCann are expected to travel from their base at Praia da Luz in Portugal to Huelva in Spain, where they will put up posters of the four-year-old across the city. 
Their latest trip comes as reports surfaced of a sighting of Madeleine in Belgium. 
According to reports, police there are taking a sighting of a girl fitting Madeleine's description seriously. “

http://news.scotsman.com/world/Madeleine-may-be-in-Belgium.3312859.jp


Justine McGuinness in The London Evening Standard

On August 3, we made the 55-mile journey to Huelva, the closest Spanish city to Praia da Luz, to distribute Find Madeleine posters and talk to locals.
It was a visit that would later assume significance, for all the wrong reasons. For it would be later suggested that Madeleine's body was disposed of at this point. How this could be thought possible, I have no idea.
Kate and Gerry were, after all, accompanied by a cameraman, who was filming a documentary, and Kate's old friend Jon Corner.
And as always their every move was shadowed by reporters and photographers. If they had dumped Madeleine's body, someone surely would have witnessed something.”

One more thing of interest from this article. Justine describes the McCanns going to a barbecue at one of the PJ's houses. Didn't kate say the policemans wifes cooking was delicious?

“The relationship, which had been characterised by its informality (one weekend Kate and Gerry even went to a barbecue at the home of one of the officers) cooled significantly in mid August.”

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23480667-i-feel-desperately-for-kate-mccann---her-life-has-been-ruined-she-loathes-the-spotlight.do



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Re: Trip to Huelva

Post by Gillyspot on 16.08.11 22:30

I have done further research on uk, portugues and spanish news for the time and the most interesting thing is the spanish websites refer to the McCanns initially planning to visit the cathedral etc. (but going not further i e not saying what they did actually).

I have found this video which must have been filmed by "the cameraman" they went with and as far as I can see it is just the journey and the bus station.

Take a look.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=GB&hl=en-GB&v=qBXB_cvdxME
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Muy estraño !

Post by PeterMac on 16.08.11 23:32

Yes, thanks. I think that is the same one linked from the mccann files that I looked at earlier.
"55 miles to Huelva"
No. It is 189 km = 118 miles
Each way.

And I don't think it is the bus station. The Bus station is deep in town, down the main avenue which starts at the Plaza de Toros, and goes south past the Cathedral.
It looks to me more like the petrol station on the N-441 outside Huelva to the north, before that road turns into the N-431 and eventually joins the motorway. (If you open Google earth and maps-google together you can get lots if information. One is full of people's photos of bridges, for example!)
There is also no sign of the "reporters and photographers" "shadowing their every move. Just a couple of Brits wanting to put up a notice about a lost dog child in a petrol station.

I am still struggling with the 2 hour drive each way for a short, and probably only a token clip of film, in a town in another country, when so far as I can see they never visited or leafletted the large Portuguese towns along the route.

What was going on ?
Why?
When?

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Re: Trip to Huelva

Post by Gillyspot on 17.08.11 6:38

PeterMac wrote:
I am still struggling with the 2 hour drive each way for a short, and probably only a token clip of film, in a town in another country, when so far as I can see they never visited or leafletted the large Portuguese towns along the route.

What was going on ?
Why?
When?

I have just checked on google maps. and the time it gives for Praia Da Luz to Huelva is 1 hour 57 mins according to them.

They were at the bus station if you look at these pictures (whether on the 3rd I could'nt comment) as the curved architecture is quite striking.

Kate & Gerry McCann at the bus station

http://www.mccannfiles.com/id168.html

And picture from World Architecture

http://www.worldarchitecture.org/world-buildings/all-submission-surfer.asp?position=detail&otherimage=19993.JPG&country=Spain&no=254&photograph=

Apologies for not being able to add the pics direct I am hopeless at that. If a mod could insert them that would be great big grin

An addition to my previous post.

Justine McGuinness in The London Evening Standard = supposedly Justine quoted

On August 3, we made the 55-mile journey to Huelva, the closest Spanish city to Praia da Luz, to distribute Find Madeleine posters and talk to locals.

From Diario das Noticas (McCann files)

"But the trip was delayed to the next day, allegedly because of "intestinal problems" of Gerry McCann, according to the justification that was then given by the couple's spokesperson, Justine McGuiness, who didn't travel with them that day."





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Surely 120 miles?

Post by tigger on 17.08.11 7:24

Surely the distance ifs120 miles? 192 km according to Google. So where did the downplaying of the distance come from?
Because it's a pretty long drive for giving out a bunch of leaflets.
I was all for Portugal as the burial place but I'm coming round. So the car could have been used by someone else to move the body. The length of the journey fits with defrosting of body. The high mileage on the car fit with several journeys - one to find a place? Another for the burial? A third for the parents?
The use of that car fits, I think having that car checked by the dogs is something they never thought of. The person who moved the body the last time, would either not have a car of his own in PdL or not wish to use it, just in case the police wanted to check him out. Having the card checked and found to be suspect must have freaked them out big time. And did!
I'm beginning to like the godfather.....
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Re: Trip to Huelva

Post by Gillyspot on 17.08.11 7:31

tigger wrote:Surely the distance ifs120 miles? 192 km according to Google. So where did the downplaying of the distance come from?
Because it's a pretty long drive for giving out a bunch of leaflets.

Perhaps it is the McCanns equivalent version of the Tapas being only approx 50 metres away from 5a. They clearly have no sense of distance do they big grin
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Make it a quiz!

Post by tigger on 17.08.11 7:50

Gillyspot wrote:
tigger wrote:Surely the distance ifs120 miles? 192 km according to Google. So where did the downplaying of the distance come from?
Because it's a pretty long drive for giving out a bunch of leaflets.

Perhaps it is the McCanns equivalent version of the Tapas being only approx 50 metres away from 5a. They clearly have no sense of distance do they big grin

Wouldn't it be marvelous to do a series of questions: as in TV quizzes: Now for a Million pound!!
Is the distance of 192 kilometers:
a ten yards
b 120 miles
c 55 miles

You can phone a friend (well, you'd have to, wouldn't you?)
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Re: Trip to Huelva

Post by PeterMac on 17.08.11 7:58

It really is one hell of a long drive, for so little apparent purpose.
If you pull the Google maps route plan round to the route they took i.e along the motorway to directly north of Huelva, so that they then come in along the N-441 it puts it up to 2 hours. Add a coffee and comfort stop each way, and it is more likely to be 2 and a half.
Then you can't get into Huelva because of the Feria...
Unless the police escorted them through as special guests, which is always possible in the McCann's parallel universe

Like so much, it doesn't stack up.
Do we have any of the 'stories' written by the "British journalists" who met them, or who were supposed to meet them dated around that time ?
They would have taken photos of the leafletting, and surely would have linked it to the Feria. Just because they are journalists.
Is it possible to tell what date the video was made, or finalised ?

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Re: Trip to Huelva

Post by Gillyspot on 17.08.11 8:09

Also interesting is there appears to be few in the media of them in Huelva (considering they were followed by a small or large media crowd - depending on who you read) and there are several pictures of a cameraman in the http://www.mccannfiles.com link but he isn't pointing at the McCanns.

The bus station and areas around the McCanns also seem excessively quiet as well if there was a fiesta going on.

One last point. Is that John McCann in the white shirt (by the tables in the outdoor cafe)? Jon Corner was wearing blue inside the bus station. - from http://www.mccannfiles.com
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Yes.

Post by tigger on 17.08.11 9:18

Gillyspot wrote:Also interesting is there appears to be few in the media of them in Huelva (considering they were followed by a small or large media crowd - depending on who you read) and there are several pictures of a cameraman in the http://www.mccannfiles.com link but he isn't pointing at the McCanns.

The bus station and areas around the McCanns also seem excessively quiet as well if there was a fiesta going on.

One last point. Is that John McCann in the white shirt (by the tables in the outdoor cafe)? Jon Corner was wearing blue inside the bus station. - from http://www.mccannfiles.com

Yes, the cameraman, he is in both pictures, in the first just on the right he seems to point at the McC's. But the other one he is by the desk. But he is wearing the same clothes as the man on the terrace, white t shirt and beige knee length shorts. Could it be John M. posing as a cameraman?
Belts and braces again? 55 mile trip, godfather and brother on trip. Much earlier ETD from PdL, around 7 - 8? Early arrival in Huelva. Shots IN Huelva and then?
So for the media: leave at 9.00 am. shortish trip, cameramen (proof available, both the M's AND cameraman in photos), posters. 2 hours Huelva, home.
Real time: leave 7.00 a.m. , long trip, Huelva, shots, leaflets (crummy cardboard box Gerry is holding) , pretty well out of Huelva by lunchtime, diversion, home.
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Re: Trip to Huelva

Post by PeterMac on 17.08.11 9:27

It does get very interesting / confusing.
They clearly are at the bus station, which is almost deserted, as they often are once a bus has left. Huelva is not a transport hub - it is a fairly small town on the coast.


And they look so 'happy'

There is a cameraman in the background of that photo, taking video of something else entirely.
And here they are harassing innocent locals


But why go to a Bus station? By definition half the people are leaving Huelva, so if Madeleine had been there that would be entirely useless.
Of the others, many will have been coming to the Feria, (though there is no evidence of that, incidentally) so again, unless they suspected Madeleine was at the Feria what would be the point of that, as those people wil have been going home later.

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very, very early?

Post by tigger on 17.08.11 9:43

As it was a holiday, the whole atmosphere feels very early in the morning to me. Could be even around 9 or 10 am.
Must check what time they were seen by the woman in the car, leaving Huelva.
If they left around lunchtime, I expect the burial site isn't too close to Huelva. surely also likely they didn't return via Huelva because by that time the Feria would be infull swing.
Had any journalist followed them to Huelva, they'd have gotten stuck in town, I should think. We're doing good work here!
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Re: Trip to Huelva

Post by PeterMac on 17.08.11 9:47

Gerry's blog

Day 92 - 03/08/2007 - Friday
HUELVA
It is exactly 3 months since Madeleine was abducted. Kate and I had an early start as we drove to Huelva, 50Km over the border from Portugal in Southern Spain.

Early start is emphasised, so not 9:00 after dropping the twins at the creche, which would have been "normal start".
And we have Huelva being 50 km beyond the border, rather than 50 km from PdL. Which makes more geographical sense, but less 'searching sense'. There were several large towns in Portugal along the way which were totally ignored.
Why ?

As you point out, 0700 start could get you to Huelva by 0930, giving you 3 hours free before any planned events at 1230.
ALSO, at 0930 the town would be quiet, so the Feria mayhem would not have started, and traffic problems would not be an issue, as they would by midday. Ditto the lack of Feria clothing on the women.

Can't see a clock in any of the photos,
BUT
Look at the shadow on the last photo on my post. The street cafe scene.
The whole pavement is in shade, from the building, not from the umbrella. Those men are having an early morning cup of coffee. Not lunch.

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Re: Trip to Huelva

Post by PeterMac on 17.08.11 12:13

Looking at the video again, the crossing of the long bridge at the Portugal / Spain border -
The bridge runs roughly E-W.
They are driving into the sun. The shadows from the suspension cables are long and "tucked in to the side of the road" if you see what I mean.
They are roughly parallel with the road. If they are travelling E-W, then the sun is fairly low in the sky.
It is either early, or quite late, depending which direction they are going.
It is not mid-day, when the shadows would be S-N, and across the road.
They only have another 50 km to go, 25-30 minutes drive on a motor-way.
Which speaks of an early start, and a fairly early arrival in Huelva - or at least in the area of Huelva.
Was the nonsense in the filling station and the bus station to create an alibi ?


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Re: Trip to Huelva

Post by Gillyspot on 17.08.11 13:10

No wonder Amaral had his doubts about that trip. They have one picture taken by a buildings somewhere, one by a cafe and a few in the bus station. None of the pictures have many people in them (in the background). They were hardly in Huelva to take it by storm and flood the place with leaflets were they??



Interesting to know their leaving time and arrival time back in PDL.
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Re: Trip to Huelva

Post by Guest on 17.08.11 15:11

http://forum2.aimoo.com/MadeleineMcCann/Calendar-Timetables/JULY-Calendar-with-Phone-Pings-1-911585.html

HideHo has a thread on the forum looking at phone pings elsewhere in Portugal which links to her own blog. If you scroll down this link you will find her notes on the Huelva trip which suggest an early start and a return to PdaL by 2.40. Obviously there are no pings for the Spanish side of the border.
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Re: Trip to Huelva

Post by aiyoyo on 28.11.11 13:56

The high mileage on the hire car might be easy to explain, it was likely used at one point during the hire to remove Maddie to her final resting place far away from PDL but not on 3rd Aug.. Too risky immediately post dog search imo as they never know whether they were closely surveilled by PJ and it would involve having to recover her from somewhere first. I believe the hire car was used to dispose her but done and dusted before 3rd Aug.

If the police had taken them by surprise with the dogs then that night must have been spent planning so the early start next morning is predictable. Also since kate's parents were on visit it explains why the twins were not dropped into the creche.
Keeping the Huelva schedule despite having cancelled all the pre-arranged meetings day before is just an alibi.
Besides people they scheduled to meet on 2nd would have told them about the fete holiday in Huelva.

If they had an early start they should have arrived into Huelva town centre before 11.00 ish, time they were seen by a witness. If they started at 6 or 7am and stopped over for a break enroute they would have got into Huelva centre about 9.00 clockish and not 11.00 clockish. They'd diverted elsewhere for the unexplained two hours, but I cant see it being disposal of Maddie with Jon Corner in tow as that would make him a direct accessory to the crime.

Unless the most dangerous plan is the safest and they did transport Maddie in the car on the 3rd and handed her over to a van. Werent the Police looking at van activities for that day? All very puzzling. I doubt that myself because their demeanor that day looks happy. They dont look as if they'd just done a gruesome job of having disposed off their daughter.

Also if you were going to drive all the way there to distribute flyers you wouldnt choose a deserted bus station or sparsely populated side walk cafe. You would head straight into the centre of town at the busiest time and stop at the busiest place with the most crowds. Plus if you have a professional photographer in tow for the purpose you would make the most of that, or the camera man would have made the most of it by photographing them in a busy place doing a proper job of handing out flyers of putting up posters, after all these photos are meant for their official site and they would want to appear to take their campaign seriously. It wouldn't have been a tokenistic gesture to prove they'd made the trip. The real purpose of the trip may never be known unless the Police have found it out.

Plus you wouldnt go all the way without fulfilling the purpose properly when they could have stopped along other towns along the way to hand out those flyers as well since they didnt have a schedule to maintain - no meetings to keep. They could have done lots more than just token gesture of the trip.

It's a shame the PJ didnt monitor them closely post the dogs findings and follow them - what a waste of opportunity. Of course hindsight is a wonderful thing. I wonder what the police found out about the Huelva trip.



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aiyoyo

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