Last week, seven teams traveled from Bangladesh to Turkey. They trekked through some of the largest open marketplaces in the world, delivered bagels, sold soft drinks, and even treated themselves to a genuine Turkish bath. Team Texas, Trey/Lexi, nudged out Abbie & Ryan for their first leg win. Last place came down to Team Capricorn and Team Monster Truck, and Rob/Kelley were eliminated. Six teams remain. BOMP.

Once per season they seem to do this… they have that one episode that they figure is so pivotal, they have to stretch it out over two episodes. I don’t know why it’s necessary… I know they are contracted to show an exact number of episodes, but instead of doing a two-episode leg, why not just add one additional non-elimination leg, throw in a twist where they bring an eliminated team back, or heck, just add an additional team to the cast at the start of the season? Just sayin’.

Anyway, because only half of the teams checked in at the end of this leg, and the fate of the other half were left up in the air, I’ll do this week’s recap in a more linear format than usual. Hope that’s okay.

Starting Line - The luxury yacht Saravona in Istanbul. Teams’ first clue told them to fly to Moscow, Russia, and locate the Zurab Tsereteli Sculpture Park. Tsereteli, who was born in the Republic of Georgia, is a world-renowned painter, architect and, of course, sculptor, who is currently the President of the Russian Academy of Arts. (Who says recaps can’t be educational?)

There’s also always at least one instance per season where one particular airport decision becomes critical, especially on a lengthy flight. The object is always to arrive at your destination as early as possible, but when there are connecting flights to consider, it can really complicate matters. Do you take the earlier flight and risk missing your connection, or do you take the surer bet and risk arriving hours after the other teams?

Case in point, Teams Rockstar and Magic Mike flew to Moscow through Amsterdam; Teams Texas and the twins connected through Munich; however, Abbie/Ryan and Team Capricorn chose to connect through Frankfurt, which proved costly. Their flight was delayed before takeoff, which meant there was no way they could make their connection. This left them stuck in Germany with no way out until morning. They ended up connecting through Warsaw, which put them a full six hours behind the leading teams.

The clue the teams found in the sculpture park directed them to Moskvoretsky Most, where two guards in full Cossack dress would give them their next clue. Team Rockstar was the first to find them, and it was this leg’s Roadblock, and the choices were Synchronized and Alphabetized. In the former, teams had to team up with Russia’s gold-medal-winning synchronized swimming team, and learn and execute a choreographed routine. In the latter, teams had to go to a huge library (housing over 24 million books), and locate four books by using an immense card-catalog, with all of the information written in Cyrillic, and from there locate the books themselves. Hmm… swimming with babes in bathing suits or combing through dusty card catalogs… which one to choose…

After the Detour came the Roadblock , which was located at the Luzhkov Most, near the manmade “Trees of Love”. These “trees” were a basic tree structure festooned with decorative padlocks, which were hung on the trees to symbolize the love of those who placed them there. Awww. Anyway, hanging on several of these trees is a long ribbon of red and gold (the official TAR colors), and, after using a huge set of keys to unlock the ribbon, would find a bill of local currency within it.

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