Leg three of the Amazing Race 14 took teams to Dracula’s homeland. Thanks to bad taxi drivers, delayed flights, misplaced documents, persistent groin injuries and stubborn siblings, this around-the-world trip was anything but a vacation.
Air Traffic (Un)control: Teams had to train it to Munich and then fly to Romania. The legal team had a two-hour lead at the start so they smartly stopped at a travel agency first. Because of this they were the only team to make the first flight, which was fantastic until the plane turned back with technical difficulties. They were sitting on the tarmac as three teams took off on the second flight. All other teams were on the last flight out except Brad and Victoria who made a risky move separating from the group and flying through Amsterdam. Unfortunately, they missed a connection and all others were grounded until morning by fog.
Stick It: The first stop in Bucharest was the gymnastics hall where national Olympic treasure Nadia Comaneci trained. One team member from each group had to perform a series of moves — on the balance beam, parallel bars and the floor — in order to move on. The men, most vocally Luke, refused to wear the leotard so the women handled this task although all-male pairings had no choice. (Never thought I’d live to see Mike White in Lycra!) Amanda aced it and was first to buy train tickets to Brasov, Transylvania, where they had to find the Black Church. Too bad the next train wasn’t until morning giving most time to catch up. Gypsies, Vamps & Thieves: For the detour, teams could either find a gypsy settlement, load a family’s belongings on a horse-drawn cart, navigate it to a new encampment and unload or head to the woods, drag a coffin downhill, unlock a series of chains to find a stash of fake blood-filled frames and bust them open over wooden stake to find a hidden flag in a tribute to Vlad the Impaler (Dracula’s inspiration).
The gypsies looked straight out central casting and their random assortment of tires, furniture and bicycles looked like a highlight reel for an episode of Clean Sweep, but this challenge was anything but glamorous. Mike and Mel worried it might be too physical for an old guy with a gimpy groin. Amanda and Chris got unloaded first, but realized he’d misplaced his fanny pack with all their cash, passports and clues. He figured it’d been stolen. While they searched both camps, Mike and Mel reclaimed the lead.
The other half of the groups chose to do the coffins. That is, once they found them. A taxi driver told the cheerleaders he knew where he was going but kept stopping for directions and Cara lost all the patience she had previously displayed when communicating with Luke, whose cab was following theirs unfortunately. Margie and Luke made quick work of the coffin delivery and figured out the secret to the locks. The first key opened the next lock which released a key and so on. The flight attendants had a better showing this week although one described the locks as “like a maze” when they clearly weren’t.
Inn It to Win It: The clue sent them by taxi to Vila Panoramic, a mountain hotel overlooking Dracula’s castle and the next pit stop. There was one strenuous uphill jaunt between them, Phil and the Romanian equivalent to Zamfir. Mike and Mel were the first to appreciate the soothing strains of pan flute and therefore won trip to Costa Rica. Despite the setback, Amanda and Chris finished second followed by Kisha and Jen and Margie and Luke.
Legal Troubles: The sibling lawyers’ bad breaks continued when they got lost and were second-to-last duo to arrive at the gym. The stress got to Tammy and she kept screwing up. (Not sure what was worse – her moves or her pantylines.) When she tried to apologize in the car after, Victor chastised her and caused her to have a mini meltdown outside the station. They were the first to arrive at the vamp mission, but a headstrong Victor decided to follow some red and white markings straight up a giant hill even after sis reminded him that the Race’s colors are red and yellow. He refused to admit he was wrong even after reaching the summit (sure that camera guy was thrilled) and there were no coffins. “It’s frustrating that we have to follow your gut and not mine,” Tammy complained. She finally convinced a crying Victor to turn back. Once on the right track, he rushed through willy-nilly. “I don’t care if I die,” he proclaimed. They hit another roadblock … – one of the keys had fallen off, forcing a them to retrace their steps. The steep drop from first to last was a wake-up call to Victor that “older brother, younger sister dynamics don’t work on a race.”
Unlucky (But) in Love: You gotta admire Brad and Victoria’s spirit. They refused to give up even though the plane from Amsterdam didn’t take off until three hours after the other teams left for Transylvania. They arrived on Phil’s mat fake bloodied and bruised but not broken. She promised, “We’re in a really good place in our lives. This wonderful adventure is going to change the way we view our lives together.” –Carrie Bell
Tell us: What challenge – gymnastics, gypsy move or coffins – do you think would be hardest? Are you sad to see Brad and Victoria sent home because of fog?