Hello dear readers! Here we are again vicariously racing through Europe with our friends on The Amazing Race. Last week the doctors did it again by consuming vast quantities of a Norwegian Christmas delicacy, an entire head of sheep. Mmmm yummy, especially if you are a vegetarian like one of them is - but they did win the Fast Forward and got to the mat well before the other dazed and confused teams. Alas, the poor volleyballers were not and they were Philiminated with nary a lift of his eyebrow.

Leaving the pit stop at 8: 26pm, the doctors discover an equalizer! come on folks, you knew it had to happen soon. All the teams will be taking planes trains and automobiles to lovely St. Petersburg, Russia! Trick is the nearest airport is in Stockholm, Sweden, and an apparent once a day 879. 74 mile overnight rain trip leaving at 10:26 the next morning away. soon all the hapless teams are sharing good times on a picturesque train ride. Except the docs and the HSN'rs. They apparently would rather have a sniffing contest.Yuck. 'Nuf said about that.

On arrival in Stockholm, most teams find their taxis to get to the airport with no problem, some taking a bit longer than others. Chad and Stephanie seem to have great difficulties finding one which of course is all Stephanie's fault. According to Chad anyway. She didn't get off the train fast enough, she phoned ahead and told the taxi companies to take everyone but them, she arranged for them to end up in Siberia, I don't know all that he was blathering on about, but according to Chad I am pretty sure she caused the Gulf oil spill too. She finally snapped back at him in an exchange that continued on the taxi ride, calling him 'shady'. She seems to be waking up to the fact that this is his standard response to difficult things. Run, Steph, run!

Detour: A choice between two tasks, usually one a bit more physical and the other a bit more time consuming

Once in Russia, they have to find the Rostral Columns for their next clue. Detour! They have a choice between Classical Music and Classical Cinema. In Classical Music, they need to listen to three Russian classical compositions on gramophones and then hope to discern the snippets of music from pieces being played on a whole lot of pianners in two large ballrooms. That is a lot of din, I tell you. In Classical Film, the teams need to watch a snippet of a silent film on a large screen and then dig there way through thousands of film strips for the ones that contain frames of the film shown. Both tasks would be frustrating.

Father and son team Michael and Kevin chose to do t he films. Arriving at the Lenfilms studio they are confronted with a massive pile of film strips. They set their eyes to looking with Michael guiding his son. Jill and Thomas also arrive at the film studio but the other couples (with the exception of Brook and Claire whose hapless taxi driver is taking them on an unsolicited tour of St Petersburg instead of to the film studio) make their way to the palace where the music detour takes place. The teams all dutifully listen to the gramophones and enter into the cacophony that is the temporary music hall. Now, I actually know these compositions having spent a lot of time in orchestras and bands and whatnot, but I swear even I would have a really hard time trying to figure out which was playing who or who was playing which. Ever been in a rehearsal hall during an orchestra warm up? Trust me, bring ear plugs. The teams dealt with rejection and frustration for a good long while, but all finally decided to switch tasks and go to the film studios. Well, all except Stephanie and Chad. Chad begins one of his hissy fits, but Stephanie talks him down and they stay with the music.

Meanwhile back at the film studios, Kevin and Michael and Jill and Thomas are still looking through the probably millions of frames of film that litter the studio floor looking for that one magic clip. Thomas finally matches a strip that contains a Russian word and he and Jill are off to their next destination: Palace Square. Brook and Claire meanwhile have arrived finally at the film studio and find their strip and catapult into second place behind Jill and Thomas.

Roadblock: A task that only one person of a team can perform.

At Palace Square, the teams find directions to find the neighborhood store in Aleksandrovskya for their next clue. Brook and Claire arrive first and find a Roadblock: the teams will have to put on the the traditional costume of a 'babushka' and plant 50 potatoes in a field and make sure to give them a dollop of fresh fertilizer donated by the local bovines. Oh yummy, a little manure with your tator tots? Brook quickly dons the babushka outfit of an oversmock and the familiar kerchief and gets right to work with a little too much of a Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farms attitude. while Mallory puts the cute in perky, The HSN team puts a bit of creepy into it if you ask me. Makes me wonder what kind of training goes on at the HSN network and are they ever allowed to talk to their families again? Meanwhile, Kevin and his dad have arrived and Kevin gets the honors of the dress wearing. Trust me, he is thrilled. Not. But he makes quick work of the planting and gets done before Brook and the newly begun Jill finish. The clue instructs Kevin and Michaels to travel back to St. Petersburg to the Pit Stop at St Isaac's Cathedral, the largest Russian Orthodox cathedral in St. Petersburg. They are followed closely by Brook and Claire and Jill and Thomas.

Meanwhile, Chad and Stephanie complete the music detour and make their way to the Roadblock. The rest of the film crew is finally able to finish their tasks and make their way to the Roadblock. Well, except Nick and Vicki. Frustrated with the films, they go back to the music where they began. They are in last place at this point.

Nat and Stephanie are doing the roadblock as Mallory arrives to don her outfit. Nat gets her stuff while Stephanie runs around trying to find the poo. Mallory begins her running around and has the same trouble trying to find the poo. Stephanie finds it and then throws the shovel well into the pile for poor petit Mallory to have to climb to get. Through the poo. Yuck. And not nice Stephanie!

Meanwhile, Jill and Thomas claim first place at the mat and win a trip to Brazil, Claire and Brook claim second and Kevin and Michael claim third. Nat, Stephanie and Mallory finish their task and their teams come in fourth, fifth and sixth respectfully.

This leaves Nick and Vicki still out on the course. Thinking the clue about a 'drag' race meant racing cars, Nick eagerly volunteers to do the Roadblock. As he said, it was "a bit more queen than cars", but he gets through it knowing they are in last place. He shakes his head at possibly being eliminated in a dress. He completes the task finally, and they make their way to the mat and their fate with Phil and his Eyebrow. But the Eyebrow brings happiness once again with the news of a non-elimination leg for the couple. Yeah! I love that crazy duo. I am going to sponsor their application for MENSA.

Next week it looks like the teams get to clown around... verses what they have been doing I guess. See you then!


Race Stats:

Detour Music: Chad/Stephanie and Nick/Vicki
Detour Film: Gary/Mallory, Brook/Claire, Michael/Kevin, Jill/Thomas, and Nat/Kat

Did the Roadblock: Brook, Kevin, Jill, Mallory, Nick, Nat, and Stephanie

Finish Order:

1. Jill and Thomas
2. Brook and Claire
3. Michael and Kevin
4. Nat and Kat
5. Chad and Stephanie
6. Gary and Mallory
7. Nick and Vicki (no Philimination, non-elimination leg)