Before and after the 7 month journey from London to Rio

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Last Week I have mostly been...
Riding across Spain, comparing the grounds of the Camp Nou and the Bernabeu, watching Spain v Italy, bumping into Spanish police (not literally) and being interviewed by Spanish national press!

Bernabeu v Camp Nou
This could be a very contentious! Both clubs and stadiums have over a hundred trophies on display, plush surroundings, a history of mega stars including England players (Lineker & Beckham) and some mention of the other sports the clubs run.   The differences I noticed are;

Real Madrid have sunbeds for the pitch! Yes that's right. To compensate the lack of natural sunshine on the shaded part of the pitch they are covered with sunbeds. 

Camp Nou has a small chapel just before you walk onto the pitch.

Bernabeu has more trophies than the Nou Camp

Camp Nou has headphones & lyrics so you can learn the Barca song

Barca photo is a couple of Euros more than Real.  Unless Jordi & Luciana (thanks for the Boca juniors recommendation in Argentina) give you one for free.  Many thanks.

Entering the Camp Nou with several Real Madrid stickers on your vehicle will get you stopped by security! 

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Spain 1 Italy 0
At the Calderon with Eduardo, Shenai and the Azzuri
Only 20 Euros to see the World Cup holders versus the Azzuri months before the World Cup with players ensuring they are on the plane to Brazil, surely this would turn out to be a bargain?

The game was at the ʺother Madridʺ teams stadium. Athletico Madrid, currently second in the league and ahead in the Champions league tie with AC Milan! A small discrepancy on the pitch, but Athletico's Calderon stadium felt like the poor cousin of the Bernabeu.

Luis Aragones, the former Spanish and Athletic Madrid manager as well as a successful Athletico player died in February.  There were fitting tributes around the stadium and from the team wearing black.

Surprisingly, Diego Costa lines up to play against Italy his 2nd debut within a year.  Yes you did rad that correctly. 12 months ago he played for Brazil but today for Spain?!?! I expect to see him line up against Italy in the World Cup for Costa Rica, Uruguay or England!

Again the main snack was sunflower seeds.  Again I tried but after each one I seemed to be spitting out the nut and stuck with salty shell between my teeth or in my gums. Shenai was already half way through the packet and firing shells out with sniper accuracy.  Unfortunately the players weren't as accurate and we trudged to a half-time 0-0.

The second half livened up with Manolo, the drum beating, ever green Spanish fan making his way around the stadium, beating a few rounds of ʺEs Spa Na!ʺ and ʺOle, Ole, Oleʺ.  Musically safe territory matched with by a safe Italian defence. Until Da Silva is brought on and he starts a move which sees Pedro squeeze the ball under a flaying Buffon.  ʺOle, Ole, Oleʺ is back on the menu!
Inestia is taken off and recieves huge applause.  Even more huge as he is a Barca player in front of a predominantly Madrid crowd.

A 1-0 win for Spain worthy of 20 euros. Italy look difficult to break down and direct on the attack.  I hope England will not get too excited with possession and over commit in attack against Italy.
Furthermore I hope Diego Costa doesn't have any English grandparents - he was awful!
Interview with at the Italy game outside the stadium.  Javier the interviewer is an Athletico fan so placed a sticker on the sidecar. I was asked a few Qs I wasn't expecting but think the interview went well.  Still I have only just begun a long journey so we agreed to meet in Brazil!

La Sexta interview was held at La Ciudad de futbal, the ground where Spain were training the previous days for the Italy game! Just outside Madrid with the unexpected snow capped Sierra Norte mountains in the background.

Lots of fun riding around with Pati the interviewer in the sidecar, taking penalties and very good Qs. I was impressed with the fact that she carries a football around in her handbag and that she that this was her second time in a sidecar.  Previously it was on the way to her wedding!

And finally,
There was a penalty roadside kick about with a pair of travelling businessmen from Portugal David & Paloma from Madrid, who works for John Guest in UK.

There was a lot of riding this week from Lisbon to Barcelona, so I whilst riding across the deserts of rural Spain I listened to Eno Morricone.  First, I see a motorbike headlight, then two, three, five, eight, eleven maybe and the chunder of Harley Davidson's, the Good bad and ugly theme tune starts on my ipod (views on listening to music whilst riding elsewhere) and I'm over taken by a bunch of club members (the real ones, not the weekend warriors with ironed jeans) with customed ape bars, low-riders,etc.  Not sure what they made of the scooter sidecar combo but I got a nod from the front and back of the pack.