The Amazing Race started off last February 15 with 11 teams vying for the 1 million dollars prize.  They had to race around the world and solve puzzles or do tasks which are either physically or mentally stressful.  Players had to deal with flight problems, phobias and sudden change of weather that can make even the strongest team hate each other.

Episode 1:  (Los Alamitos, CA, USA to Stechelberg, Switzerland)

In this season of the Amazing Race, all 11 teams were transported by US Marine helicopters at their base in Los Alamitos, California.  From there the team were instructed to travel to Locarno, Switzerland on either Lufthansa or Air France then by train into Locarno.    The teams have to find the Church of San Antonio wherein they have to register in one of the three groups departing at 715am, 730am and 745am.

At their destination, Verzasca Dam, teams encountered a roadblock where one member of the team has to do a bungee jump on the same place where James Bond jumped in the “Goldeneye”.    After the jump, teams have to travel by train to Interlaken and find Kleine Rugen Weisse.

At Kleine Rugen Weisse, teams have to choose a pair of antique cheese rack and climb up a steep hill.  Once on top, they have to transport down 200 pounds of cheese to an aging shed.   Each cheese weigh 50 pounds and the hill ain’t helping as it’s slippery.  It was a mental and physical challenge for all players and those who give up will surely lose.  After transporting the cheese to the shed, the next clue pointed them to the first Pit Stop in the race, Stechelberg.

This Pit Stop truly is amazing as the first deaf contestant along with his mom stepped in first on the pit stop.  Everyone was congratulating them as they didn’t let their handicap hinder them to win this leg.  The last team to check in was dating couple Preston and Jen who were outrun by flight attendants Christie and Jodi.  There was no detour in this leg so that’s something new!

Episode 2:  (Stechelberg, Switzerland to Salzburg, Austria)

At the pit stop, teams are instructed to fly to Munich, Germany then drive to the village of Ruhpolding and ride a cable car to the top for their next clue.  It was a race as to who can call reservations first and book the 710am flight or take the next flight out at 845am.

On top of the mountain, teams encountered a roadblock where the task is to choose an instructor and in tandem paraglide off the mountain to the ground 6,000 feet below.  If the wind condition ain’t perfect, teams have the option to wait for the instructor to give them the ok to fly or took off down a rough trail to the landing patch to get their next clue.  As weather conditions are uncertain, most of the teams took off the rough trail down the mountain while their team member take the cable car down to meet them near the clue box.  Only one team (Mel & Mike) stayed as Mel who opted to do the roadblock has an injury which will hinder him to overtake the teams who already went ahead.  His gamble paid off as he got the chance of the lifetime to tandem paraglide to a majestic view of the German village.  On the way down the mountain, Linda mistakenly took a wrong path which cost their team the chance to move on the race.

At the landing ground, teams were instructed to drive 25 miles to Schonau Am Konigsee.  Upon arriving at their destination, teams encounter their first Detour in the race.  Their task is to choose between Austrian Folly or Balancing Dolly.  In Austrian Folly, teams are instructed to enter a party tent and throw Austrian pies at a target.  Little did they know that their target are their partners.  The pie throwing will only end once they found a pie with a cherry filling on the inside.  The teams who did this task are Tammy and Victoria, Margie and Luke, Amanda and Kris, Linda and Steve, Christie and Jodi, and, Brad and Victoria.

In Balancing Dolly, teams had to ride a Segway transporter through a two mile obstacle course.  At the end of the course, they will receive their next clue.  The teams who did this task are Mel & Mike, Kisha and Jen, Jaime and Cara, and, Mark and Michael.

After they finish their respective detours, teams are instructed to make their way on foot to Holzsäger, find the mechanical Tyrolean woodcutter, and have them cut a small piece of wood.  Once they have the wooden disc, these will be stamped with their next clue.    This task prove to be daunting to Christie and Jodi as they look like dumb blondes hauling a piece of wood finding the woodcutters.

The stamp on the wooden disc instructed the teams to drive to the Austrian city of Salzburg and find the Pit Stop at Schloss Helbrunn.  Tammy & Victor stepped in the mat first followed by Mel & Mike, Amanda & Kris, Margie & Luke.  The last team to check in was Linda & Steve who were eliminated from the race.

Episode 3:  (Salzburg, Austria to Brasov, Romania)

At the start of this leg, teams are instructed to travel by train to Munich and fly to Bucharest,  Romania.  Once they landed, they had to take a taxi to the gymnastic hall where Nadia Comanecei trained.

Going to the airport, Tammy and Victor stopped by a travel agency and was able to book a flight departing at 330pm.  This will give them a lead over the next flight which will depart at 445pm.  However, luck wasn’t on their side as enroute to their destination, their plane encountered mechanical problems.   They weren’t able to join the 445pm team and had to wait for the next flight out which is at 930pm.

With a 5 hour wait till their next flight, Brad and Victoria scout around for another flight which will leave earlier.  The found one departing at 730pm with a tight stopover in Amsterdam.  It proved to be a great mistake as their flight got delayed arriving in Amsterdam and their connecting flight left early.  Flights were cancelled for the rest of the night due to fog and their only chance was the following morning.

In Bucharest, the first group of teams arrived at the gymnastic hall where they encountered a roadblock.  In this roadblock, one member of the team had to learn and execute moves in three gymnastic disciplines: balance beam, parallel bars and floor exercise.  If they make a wrong move, they have to start over in that discipline.   Amanda zipped through it like a pro while Mike wasn’t too shabby as well.  Margie had a hard time but didn’t give up.

Their next clue instructed them to travel to Brasov, Transylvania where they have to search for the Biserica Neagra or the Black Church.   At the train station, the first three teams found out that the next train won’t depart till 630am which gave the other teams a chance to catch up.

At the Black Church, teams were faced with a detour.  In this detour, teams are given a choice between Gypsy Moves or Vampire Remains.    In Gypsy Moves, teams had to go to a gypsy settlement and help haul the family’s belongings into a horse drawn cart to another location.   In Vampire Remains, teams had to travel by foot on a marked path in the nearby woods, drag a coffin down a clearing, solve a lock puzzle and find the flag for their next clue.

Mel and Mike, Mark and Michael, Amanda and Kris & Kisha and Jen showed their muscles and helped a gypsy family move their belongings to a new location.  Amanda & Kris forgot where they left their belt bag and had a stressful few moments before they calmed themselves and look for it.

In the path to the coffins, Victor proved to be stubborn in following the white and red markers to a destination nowhere near the coffins.  They traveled far before Tammy put her foot down and they went back and found the correct yellow and red marked path.   They were only lucky as Brad & Victoria lost a lot of time due their costly risk in Amsterdam.

After they finish their respective task, their next clue instructed them to take a taxi to Villa Panoramic which is the pit stop in this leg of the race.  The first team to checked in was Mike and Mel followed by Amanda & Kris and Kish and Jen.  Brad and Victoria was eliminated from the race.

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So.. that’s it.. I’ll continue with Episodes 4-6 on my next recap.  It seems like luck still plays a big role in this game.  Keeping a cool head proves to be very difficult and even the tightest and closest relationships are put into the test in this race.   I’m rooting for Cara & Jaime to be the first all female team to win this race as well as Tammy and Victor for the Asian factor.

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