Madeleine – XRX #1

A great deal of the photos I have found on historical Luz emanate from a source called XRX. http://www.xrx.pt.

This source is a bit of a mixed bag. I have no idea what XRX is meant to stand for. It seems to match up with the stock market code for Xerox, but I don’t think that is why it was picked here.

It is a local group of ‘lads’, interested in the things young males are interested in – girls in bikinis, fast cars, good times , and hoping that the idosa (elderly) will kindly get out of the way so the young can get on with it. Plus some jokes and ‘artistic’ material.

And then, strangely, they are interested in the photographic history of Luz, Lagos, Espiche, Burgau and Sagres. Oh, and there is some Madeleine McCann related material, typically hostile to the parents.

My main interest in XRX is the historical angle. A great number of photographs of the development of the area have been unearthed, and many of them I can relate to personally, knowing what has gone, what has remained, and what has been added.

A very simple but odd example of this is junctions on the N125, the ‘old’ road that runs along the Algarve, built prior to the A22 motorway. For years, junctions on the N125 have been being converted from traffic lights to roundabouts. A single junction often takes several years to convert. Examples include the junction of the M537 and N125, which was traffic lights in the McCann day, but is now a roundabout. And the junction on the N125 between Luz and Espiche, again traffic lights in the McCann era, but a roundabout nowadays.

This is the Operation Grange dig of the mound in central Luz in June 2014. This is a small slice of what I remember personally. Unfortunately, I was not interested in the Madeleine McCann case at the time, so I never bothered to take my camera when I went down to view the proceedings. Most of what I learned was gleaned from the news, though I never actually saw a single news broadcaster in action.

This one is interesting because it is dated to 1981. It shows the land east of the church is undeveloped, which means the Ocean Club was not yet in situ, though clearly new buildings were going up in Luz.

This is another photo that is dated, this time to 1996. The Ocean Club appears to be in place, complete with the Tapas tennis courts.

Supermercado Baptista as I know it has not been started. At this time it was working out of Luz Tur.

The fishing fleet seems to be gone. The tourists are out in great numbers. It still seems to be the Paraíso restaurant in its first incarnation.

Rua da Escola Primária had now been developed, complete with Pedras Brancas, which would house many of the Ocean Club staff. I cannot see Estrela da Luz, so not all the ingredients for the Smith sighting are in place.

Just behind is the Mound, looking much in 1996 as it does 20 years later.

And I have just noticed that the urbanisation we lived in for a year when we first arrived in Luz had not been started in 1996.

Advertisements

Luz – 70s and 80s

This is the final set of photos that I have. It shows Luz in the 70s and 80s. I will need to keep my eye open for some that cover the next 2 decades.

Here is the view over Luz beach from Avenida dos Pescadores.

The Avenida is still being treated as a two-way road for cars on what looks like a baked-earth surface. On the beach, the number of tourists has increased. There are still fishing vessels with sails, but they are now competing for space with the tourists.

The photo itself looks like it is over-saturated. The colours look more vivid than life. I remember this effect from colour film back in, say, the 1980s.

This undated photo is obviously some way into the development of Luz. The fishing fleet seem to have shrunk. The tourist trade seems to have grown.

On the right hand side, about half-way up, there is a new white complex. As far as I can tell, that is due south of Rua Direita.

The building in brown or grey just above that is very distinctive. The ground floor only fits one building in Luz, and that is the building in which the Ocean Club 24hr reception is located. The building must still have been under construction, as the facade is lacking cladding or whitewash.

That brown building is 2-storey. The Ocean Club building is 3-storey. That means there must have been a major redevelopment at some time. That is no significant issue. The next photo will show another large chunk of development on the ground, but still no sign of the Ocean Club complex. So this photo pre-dates what is thought of now as being the Ocean Club by some years.

This is the most up-to-date on the historical photos I have of Luz. This has lots of additional development, though still no real sign of the Ocean Club. The area to the east of the church remains undeveloped, as does the area to the north of Rua Direita, where the bulk of the Ocean Club would go.

Luz Tur, the multi-storey, is in the process of being finished off.

The current Supermercado Baptista advert says it was established over 40 years ago (pre 1977) but I cannot make out a sign of it.

To the right of the fish processing factory is a building which itself is nearly completed, but the commercial units on the ground floor have yet to be finished. In modern times, these are the Lazuli, a small internal ice-cream shop, and the Habana. The latter is where you can see the web cam of Luz at http://www.algarveluzbay.com/

The building on the beach in front of the fish factory and the Habana must be the Paraíso. Their current advert says it has been a family-run business since 1965. Both of the incarnations of the Paraíso that I have seen had a strictly rectangular footprint, so this wobbly blob must have been replaced years ago.

There are two other buildings on the beach, beside the little group of 3 cars. One can be identified as the Rocha Negra restaurant. The other I don’t know about. Both of these are long gone.

A couple of things are missing from the photograph. The Roman villa/fish processing plant beside the Avenida dos Pescadores has not yet been discovered. I will need to check when that was excavated.

The other missing object that intrigues me is the Luz water tower. Luz had by now become quite a large village, and it must have had a water supply somehow. The Roman and later fish processing plants must have had a water supply. There was a well (pouço) located near to the centre of the photo (Rua do Pouço, Travessa do Pouço, Beco do Pouço). Perhaps the Fortaleza and the fish factories hauled water by hand from the well, perhaps not. But a Luz of this size was not relying on well water, so how was it getting in?

ETA. Baptista opened a supermarket in Rua Calheta on 16 April 1966 The supermarket moved to Luz Tur in 1974. That is why it is not in the photo. In Sep 2000, it moved to its own building in Rua Gentil Martins.

Madeleine – Nighthawk 1 Jun 2017

After the issues with my camera-work on the 10th anniversary, I wanted to go out and test a setting where my little camera should not fire the flash every time, in order to get closer to what the human eye sees. This is low-light mode, no flash. See what you think.

All photos are 1 June 2017, from around 10.10pm on.

This is roughly what Peter Smith saw as he passed Smithman on 3 May 2007. The most important thing is that all the lighting was coming from behind Smithman.

And this one is roughly what Smithman saw as he headed down Primary School Street that night. Please note again the lighting. There are 2 key sources. The street lamps are behind me. And another street lamp lighting up the junction with 25th April Street. The darkness is due to the building on the left blocking this light, then quite a lot of light at the bottom.

Now cast your beady eyes on that figure on the Lane of Little Steps. Right in the middle, that fuzzy figure is a gentleman heading downwards. The point is Smithman could see the Smith troupe coming from a long way off. He had every chance to avoid the Smith 9. He chose not to.

The next photo is from 25th of April Street down the Lane of Little Steps. You can still see the couple who were heading for their night out. The blue blob at the bottom is the Dolphin restaurant, where the Smiths had a South African meal before heading to Kelly’s for a nightcap.

Moving quickly on, because I was running late, this is the spot on 25th April Street where Sergey Malinka’s Audi was torched, with the word fala (speak) spray-painted in red on the pavement.

And here is my shot of St Vincent’s. This is what I wanted to check out. The truth is it is no better than the photos I got on 3 May 2017, but that tells me something.

Across the road the Ice Cream Factory was shutting up shop. Who wants ice cream at 10.20pm?

At the other end of the promenade, here is the refurbished Paraíso. It wasn’t the restaurant that caught my attention. It was the kids squealing with pleasure on the boardwalk on the beach.

This is what the good folks of Luz get up to on a night out. The sign says A Fábrica was opened in 2010, so don’t factor it into the Madeleine McCann story.

This place may well be quite important in the story of Madeleine’s disappearance, and I’ve got to say I am quite chuffed about this photo. The location is the junction of the beach road and the high street, Rua Direita. This is Clube Reacritivo Cultural e Desportivo Luzense. The recreational, cultural and sporting club of the people of Luz. It is one of just two particularly Portuguese places in Luz where Senhor Euclides Monteiro might have spent the evening of 3 May 2007.

It’s now 22.30pm. This is the Ocean Club 24hr reception. Except it is closed.

Above is Madeleine’s play-group area and the night crèche. Except it is closed.

The Ocean Club is dead.

Madeleine – Luz Tour #6

Luz Tour #6 took place on 1st May and 2nd May 2017, just before the 10th anniversary. It was with a UK press member, Michael Havis. I was somewhat apprehensive, given that I had already been flame-grilled by a UK tabloid that had never spoken to me in any way, shape, or form. Things went better this time round, and I consider I received a much more balanced evaluation.

We met up at a hotel in the west of Luz, had a chat for a few minutes, then headed into Luz on foot.

Our first stop was at Rua das Flores. I wanted to show why it made sense for the McCanns to haul rubbish out of their rental villa by car, hence the stinky boot story. The bins are at the entrance/exit to the urbanisation, not easy to get to on foot, but chuck a plastic bag full of rubbish in the boot and everything makes perfect sense. Including a stinky boot.

Off we headed down Rua 25 de Abril to look at the place where Operation Grange dug up the mound. Visitors seem surprised by the size of it. The key details pass them by. It is an integral part of the Luz one-way system. There were two nearby restaurants which opened in 2007, though whether they managed it by May 2007, I don’t know.

Critical point #1 is the statement of Kirsty Louise Maryan. She was up a hill in Luz with two other nannies in the early hours of 4 May 2007 when they encountered Barrington Godfrey Norton, who was sleeping rough in a Ford Escort van. The only place I know of in Luz up a hill where people park camper vans overnight is this mound. I don’t have confirmation from any of the 4 people involved in this encounter that it happened on the mound. It is simply the only place that fits.

We walked through much of central Luz and arrived at the Ocean Club. I was becoming very tired. I took Mr Havis part of the way along the short route between the Tapas reception area and the Ocean Club night crèche. Along the way we saw that the adults-only swimming pool had no water in it. The next day we would find that the indoor pool was also empty of water. Basically, the Ocean Club is dead.

Near the adults-only pool, the short route goes up half a dozen steps, then it goes down a large number on the other side, and I didn’t want to do that, so we parted and Mr Havis continued exploring on his own. It seems he ended up on the sea front for a meal.

He liked the café enough that we met up there at lunchtime the next day, and it was packed. The visitors included large Portuguese groups, presumably down from Lisbon, extending the Labour Day holiday.

On the sea-front promenade on the way to the café, I had been accosted by a charity collector. This brings my encounters with charity collectors in Luz to 6. 4 of these have been calls to my residence, and each of these I would consider suspect. The other 2 have been in busy public areas of Luz, and both of these I consider genuine. Mr Havis was relieved to hear I considered the promenade charity collector to be genuine, as he had made a donation on his journey to the café.

I explained the story about the alleged tunnels and O Pouço to Mr Havis, so he asked if we could have a look, and we did. Then it was back to the front for the renovated Paraíso, where the Tapas 7 went on 3 May 2007, the market stalls where Gerry bought sunglasses on the McCanns trip to the beach, and up Rua Praia da Luz.

This street has at least two components in the Madeleine story.

John Ballinger apparently lives on this street. I knew that previously, but what I didn’t know before was that he appeared on the Sky 10th anniversary special. He explained to roadworks that were open on the night of 3 May, and from his photos, he appears to be the source for a picture in the press. Mr Ballinger said he had reported the roadworks to the police, which implies at that time he was of the opinion it was a missing child who woke and wandered, rather than an abduction.

The other feature on Rua Praia da Luz is the Duke of Holland restaurant/bar. It was taken over and has since closed down, but in 2007 it was run by June and Paul Wright. When the news was made public on 3 May, one of the pair immediately joined the search for Madeleine, while the other closed the Duke later, then got involved in the search. After this they were checked re whether Robert Murat was around apartment 5A that evening, as they knew Mr Murat and could recognise him. Despite returning to the vicinity of 5A several times during searches, Mr Murat had not been seen.

At the top of the beach road we turned left on Rua Direita and headed SW. This also has a number of items of interest on it.

First, the roadworks in the files were being done on this street.

Then there is the Luz Sporting Club. This is one of two places in Luz I suspect Sr Euclides Monteiro may well have been on that evening. His widow has said he was at home in Portelas (about 15 minutes drive from Luz) on 3 May 2007, composing a poem on his computer. I suspect he was in Luz, with friends, watching the big game. There were lots of places in Luz to watch the football that night, but only two where the predominant language was likely to be Portuguese and where the predominant culture was likely to be Portuguese. So Mr Havers took a photo of the club for his stock.

The we went to the Ocean Club reception. Things have changed somewhat with Madeleine’s kids club no longer there, and the indoor swimming pool in disuse.

I didn’t fancy the large flight of steps on the short route used by the McCanns, so we opted for a slightly longer route that is set up for wheelchair users, hence there are no stairs. This is probably the way the nannies moved the children from the kids club to the Tapas zone because it avoids a steep flight of stairs and it is ideally suited to Sammy Snake, the preferred way of getting the kids to walk together.

As it so happens, this goes between Fiji Palms block and Casa Liliana. Fiji Palms was the location of the Carpenter family. Casa Liliana was the home of Robert Murat and his mother Jenny. This is the approximate point at which Stephen Carpenter and Robert Murat met on the morning of 4 May, when Mr Murat learned what was going on, and he went to block 5 to offer his services as an interpreter.

We then headed to the Tapas reception, using the same semi-circular route taken by the Carpenters when they left the Tapas zone on 3 May.

Mr Havis was being pressed by his editor to file at least one story by his editor while he was still in Luz, so he wanted a photo to go with it. This is the one he picked.

After 2 days of Luz Tour #6, I was very tired physically. Mr Havis was going to head back to his hotel, apparently to converse with a colleague. I had just enough gas in the tank to walk home. We did not discuss what either of us would be doing on the 10th anniversary.

I have no idea how Mr Havis spent most of his day on 3 May 2017. I decided that I only had the capacity left for a stab at one trip into Luz, so I picked the 10th anniversary ceremony at St Vincent.

There I bumped into a contact from AFP from Luz Tour #5. He was back down after another 3 hour trip from Lisbon, so he has more stamina than I have.

As it happens, I took the extremely grainy photo of Mr Havis with Reverend Haynes Hubbard that appeared in the UK press.

And yes, I missed the chance to introduce myself to Mr Martin Brunt of Sky TV. He, and the Sky team, looked like they were working their socks off.

Madeleine – Xmas day 12 – Bring on the dogs

What would a Madeleine McCann discussion be without bringing in some dogs?

I was asked on the UK Justice Forum about whether dogs are permitted on Luz beach. There are lots of signs up saying this is not permitted, but we live in Portugal, so hey-ho.

The date of my photos was the 12th day of Christmas, 5 Jan 2017. The time was around 8.45am. The weather was glorious!

The first photo is the remains of the Roman villa on the seafront in Luz. Please don’t ask me for the history of this. The relevance to Madeleine McCann is that this villa had fresh water coming in through an aqueduct so that it could do many things with water, one of which happened to be processing fish into a sauce that was basically the Roman equivalent of ketchup.

The one key word here is aqueduct. If you want to enlarge this, think of the tunnel stories about Luz. There is a small amount of the Roman aqueduct in the road to the north of this site. The roads behind this location all indicate it was once where the people of Luz came to draw their water from the well.

mad-xmas-day-12-1a-roman-villa

As I was walking along, it looked like like Luz was deserted. I had already passed car drivers and dog walkers a-plenty, but the front looked empty. The photo is stuffed with lots of points relevant to Madeleine McCann assuming you know the details. Here we have rocks (significant) leading on to the beach (significant) with the revamped Paraíso in the centre (significant) plus the villas up the hill to Boa Vista (significant).

mad-xmas-day-12-2a-is-luz-deserted

In the foreground, the man in a gold top had passed me with two Labradors. One was very old and that is the one that is slowly picking its way across the rocks. The younger one had squirted off into the distance to play with the black dog in the centre. This is how it works with the dogs in Luz. They do not scour the beach searching for missing children or dead bodies. They go out to play with each other.

mad-xmas-day-12-3a-congregation

One lady in a white top with black leggings, one black dog, one Labrador, and two early morning beach walkers. It may be that the two walkers have a small white dog on the beach.

mad-xmas-day-12-4a-dogs-1

This photo has unimportant things in it. The two Labradors are together again. The walker in the distance now appears to have two small dogs. The lady in the white top is with her black dog.

mad-xmas-day-12-5a-dogs-2

Can we proceed to the important things in this photo? If you are eagle-eyed, you will spot a tiny play-park for children outside the Paraíso, consisting of no more than two swings and one slide. I don’t know what it looked like in 2007. All I can say is that this kit has been on the beach outside of the Paraíso since Feb 2012.

The bit that interests me is the motor-homes in the background. In May, this bit of space is under parking control, so motor-homes go elsewhere in Luz. And yes, it is relevant. The place Operation Grange dug in June2014 was the one and only hill used by motor-caravans in 2007, and it features in the PJ-Files.

This is the next animal on the beach on the 12th day of Christmas. I have had a discussion with my grandson, and he wavered between a crocodile and a dragon until one of his elders steered him towards a dragon. So now a dragon it is. Officially.

mad-xmas-day-12-6a-sand-sculpture

The lady in the white top is walking her black dog off the beach. The two Men In Black are lurking on the seafront. Someone in the background has decided to have a stroll out onto the rocks. The time is 8.58am and people are already hard at work all around. Off goes one dog …

mad-xmas-day-12-7a-off-goes-one-dog

And onto the beach come another two. This photo was not black and white. I was simply pointing directly into the sun.

mad-xmas-day-12-8a-another-two

This is something I perchanced across as I headed home. It is still 5 Jan 2017 at 9.07am. While most of the graffiti has been tidied up, it seems they haven’t got everything sorted yet.

mad-xmas-day-12-9a-circus

Madeleine – Xmas day 11 – Band on the Run

I am still progressing the Day 9 – Wasteland post, and while I was doing it, a thought entered my head. Why do I know so much about the nooks and crannies of Luz, the places that Google does not go?

The answer has two parts. The first is that I am a lifelong walker. When I visit somewhere, I like to make sense of it by exploring on foot. I prefer the parts that are away from car traffic and typically that means old historic centres or in the case of the Wasteland, the trails that few people have used.

I have walked from Luz to Burgau on many occasions, and the coastal pathway is much, much more pleasant and interesting than the M537 road between Burgau and Luz.

The second part of the reason is we have moved frequently in Luz. The shortest stay was one week, while the longest was nearly 2 years. We counted up our residences, and the total so far is 8 in 5 years. This excludes the properties rented by the kids’ family when we were living apart, though they are significant. They rented a house immediately east of the Wasteland, and that is how I know you can hop the wall to get onto the plot. I’ve been exploring on that land before, merely out of curiosity.

Bear in mind that I had very little interest in the Madeleine McCann case until the Operation Grange dig of June 2014, so most of my exploring had nothing whatsoever to do with Madeleine.

When we arrived in the area, the plan was to move to a villa we were renting just outside Luz. We had to stay in an apart-hotel in Luz for a week whilst waiting for our furniture to be moved from the UK to the villa. That week was actually very hard physical work. We had been promised that the villa would be cleared before we moved in, and we had paid for it to be cleaned. Being Portugal, the villa was neither cleared nor cleaned, so we spent large chunks of time gutting it and then cleaning it. When we had finished ripping out aged tat, there was well over a lorryload of the stuff. Fortunately, the local council picks that sort of rubbish up and disposes of it for free.

I woke up early one morning in our week the apart-hotel, and since I didn’t want to disturb the family, I decided it was time to explore. It was late February and the weather was glorious. I hunted down the beach, passing other early morning walkers and exchanging amiable chat with them of no particular significance. Then I arrived at the beach area, and I though the vista was jaw dropping. I had an exploration along the front, including the Roman ruins and the Fortaleza, then I returned to tell the family, excitedly, about what I had found.

It was decided we would all head to the beach area for breakfast. We chose the Paraíso because it was actually on the beach and had the best view. The weather was warm enough in February that we wanted breakfast al fresco, so we sat on the outside. There were 4 adults, 2 teenagers, and one baby. Due to the size of the group, we happened to sit on or near where the Tapas 7 took their children for tea on the afternoon of 3 May 2007. We probably appeared on the exactly the same CCTV, just years later on.

Bear in mind that none of us had the slightest inkling that Luz was connected to the disappearance of Madeleine, nor of the movements of the Tapas 7. We had simply picked a pleasant spot on a beach to have breakfast in the sun. There would be many more such coincidences as we became ‘The Band On The Run’, even if I only became aware of those quirks of fate much later.

The villa we moved into is in Urbanisation Melody. We moved out again soon after because the villa was damp and essential features such as showers and the oven were decrepit, and we had too many people to hack that. The owner assured us the main oven was new, but shortly before we moved out the oven fan fell out because it was rusted through completely. We later learned that our ‘contract’ with the owner was not a legal contract in Portugal, because none of us had the correct documentation to enter into a legal contract. It appears money was being hidden both from the tax man and the owner’s family, who had a right to a share of our rent.

Once more, I did not hear about the scandalous rumour connecting Gerry to Urbanisation Melody until much later. The urbanisation was added to Google in Jan 2015, so you can now peek around for yourself if you want. We were in the villa that has a skinny black dog by the gates.

I did my usual walking, exploring and mapping. I walked to the camp site to the west, which happens to have a tiny role in the Madeleine McCann tale. There I discovered a Brazilian restaurant that did buffet lunches, so we decided to try it out one day. The range was good and the price was relatively inexpensive, but I am not a fan of buffets, so we never went back. That restaurant later relocated to Valverde, where the GNR car was on 3 May 2007 when it got the ‘hurry up’ call. The Brazilian has a good reputation in Luz, so perhaps I am picky about my food. Again by sheer coincidence, my family was in that restaurant for lunch one day when Operation Grange heaved up for their mid-day break from the Luz dig.

Going back to the topic of Urbanisation Melody, the scandalous rumour was that Gerry had buried Madeleine’s body in the garden of one of the plots, and the gardener failed to notice this. This is a scarcely disguised variant of the scandalous rumour that Gerry had buried Madeleine in the villa the McCanns rented at 27 Rua das Flores and the gardener failed to notice this.

I had criss-crossed Urbanisation Melody and the surrounding area in my time there, and trust me, there are dozens and dozens of places to conceal a body that are much better than digging up someone’s garden. This should not be interpreted as meaning Gerry found some better place in the area. Unless he was scouring the countryside like a madman, he would not have been able to find this urbanisation until Google put it on-line in Jan 2015, so it is a complete non-starter.

Of the 8 places we have lived, I can only think of a couple that are not coincidentally connected to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. That is simply due to the size of Luz and the amount of coverage of the disappearance of Madeleine in the media.

Our proposed move to Portelas has crawled forward at a snail’s pace. The house has now been valued by the bank and the valuation is sufficient to cover the mortgage we want. The council has conducted its inspection to check that the work it requires has been done to the standard it requires. We have good reason to believe it has. All we are waiting for now is the paperwork. Mind you, we have been trying to buy the villa for about a year now, and this is Portugal, so we are not holding our breath.

Does Portelas have some sort of coincidental connection to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann? Of course it does. First, in the Luz rubbish disposal tale, it features as a transit station before the garbage is moved on to its final destination in Barlavento. Second, it was the residence of Euclides Monteiro, aka Tractorman, a person I think Operation Grange was checking out in 2014.

Today’s Day of Christmas tale is nearly done, except for a graphic of the 8 locations we have lived in while we were the Band On The Run. It looks a little bit like someone has taped the base graphic over a dartboard and then thrown a dart or eight, without much accuracy. Or is it a blunderbuss spray shot pattern?

madeleine-xmas-day-11-band-on-the-run

Madeleine – the McCanns did it – Luz tour #2

If the McCanns did ‘it’, whatever ‘it’ was, all they had to do was get past Luz. I have heard visitors while I was eating breakfast on the decking of the Paraíso restaurant (which is currently undergoing a total overhaul) look around and remark that it is easy to see from the rough terrain that hiding a body here would be easy.

If you can visit Luz, please get in touch with me, because I would like you to show you the reality. I think of this as the ‘Luz Challenge’. Our version of Mission Impossible. Your task is simple. You have to come up with a way in which the McCanns, for whatever reason, disposed of Madeleine’s body, and the body was not found in the subsequent searches.

The McCanns had 5 days to solve this puzzle, assuming there was intent to do so when they arrived at Faro airport.

Or if they had no intent, they are left with a much tougher task. How does one dispose of a body the size and weight of Madeleine, in a foreign country, after whatever incident might have happened, between 5:30pm and 10pm on one single night, the 3rd of May 2007?

Gerry had played golf in Portugal before. Kate had never previously visited the country. The pair had been on holidays with a similar background. In my first post on this, I made it clear that the couple did not seem to ‘explore’ Luz, though there is evidence of jogging that was outside the Ocean Club (by Kate at least).

So let me remind you of the ‘Luz Challenge’. Within the first week of arrival in Luz, you have to come up with a body disposal method that is going to defeat the subsequent checks and searches. It can be done, but I am predicting that you will not succeed.

Bearing this in mind, I now need to turn to the places of interest in Luz assuming the McCanns did ‘it’.

This obviously starts off with block 5 for apartment 5A, and quickly spreads to the Tapas Restaurant, and from there it goes crazy.

Jane Tanner’s sighting has to be factored in. That’s not too much effort as it is very, very close to block 5.

Then there is the Smith sighting. Now the area has to be expanded to the Dolphin and Kelly’s. For me, this is beginning to look like a rather general tour of Luz. Can I find any evidence that the McCanns were in this part of Luz? Nope.

What else? A visit to Baptista supermarket. As dull as that sounds, it can actually be a bit of fun. Trust me, I’m your friend.

There has to be a look at the rubbish system in Luz. This bit is boring, but it has to be done. You need to see how the system works, because that explains why the McCanns didn’t use it.

The route, or routes, to the Ocean Club 24 hour reception from apartment 5A require a quick view. If Madeleine spent morning and afternoon in the Mini Club there, surely this is important. By the way, you also need to get your head around the general subject of child entertainment in Luz, and the difficulty of making sure that young children have something interesting to do throughout the day in a 7-day holiday in Luz.

Then there is the trip to the beach. I am far from convinced that the route is important, as per a Textusa theorem. However, if you think it is, recreating this route is simple, so you can judge for yourself.

What is possibly more important about the trip to the beach is the ‘encounter’ with a street singer on the sea front and the market stalls where sunglasses are sold. You can do both. Not the original street singer, but Luz still has a busker.

Staying at the beach, we have Kate’s jog along the beach, whilst CCTV shows the Tapas 9 (minus Kate and Gerry) enjoying the Paraíso restaurant on the beach itself. Things have changed in the Paraíso. The owner from that time has died, so it has been passed on to new hands. It has recently been demolished. It is currently being reconstructed in an enlarged format, much to the chagrin of some locals, so you can no longer see the original layout, with the exception of that CCTV clip.

As of today, the Paraíso is still at the bare bones stage. The foundation is in and the ribs have been stuck up, but that is it. My visitor #1 is due in early March, and I cannot see the whole of the Paraíso going back up in that time. That is a bit of a shame, because it had or has some outstanding qualities. Never mind, this simply means it is a nut that needs to be cracked in a different way. I am used to cracking nuts when a different way is required.

The last area of interest is where Kate jogged. I don’t really mean the beach, although if you want a leisurely stroll along the beach combined with a look to see what can be found in some rock pools, then fair enough. Can I bring my grandchild along, because he loves this sort of stuff?

Kate’s main jog on record was to the east of Luz, out along the old road to Lagos. That has also changed. In Madeleine’s day, the junction with the N125 (the main road) was a traffic light system, but now that has been changed to a roundabout. More importantly, the restaurant near the camping site where the second radio call was put through to the GNR, the first response team, was Vale Verde. Again, the place has changed hands in the interim. Currently, it is run by people doing a Brazilian buffet for lunch. I am not a fan of a buffet, but this one has a good reputation, and it is on the route used by Kate for her jog. Two birds for one stone. Oh, and Operation Grange hauled up in it for lunch one day when they were digging up Luz in 2014. Three birds for one stone.

Now, your mission, if you decide to accept it, is very simple. The McCanns did not get a guided tour of the key locations in Luz, but you can get a complete head start if you wish. After that, you have 5 days to work out how to dispose of a body the size of Madeleine, minus transport, and minus a digging tool (usually called a spade). This is the Luz Challenge.

It can be done. However, my prediction is that you cannot come up with any reasonable theorem as to how the ‘McCanns done it’. Gonçalo Amaral struggled, and in my opinion failed, to come up with an explanation of how the ‘McCanns done it’. He had something like 25 years of experience policing Portugal and the Algarve, and he failed to come up with a solution to a one-word question. How?

How? How do you dispose of a child’s body when all you have is foot power, and no experience of Luz.

Would you like to see if you can overcome the Luz Challenge?