Oh, Race, it’s good to be back. I’ve missed you. And I’ve missed Phil’s hat and Phil’s Maori fishhook necklace, too!
It’s been two weeks, do you remember what happened? Africa? Speeding tickets? Fearless Friends got eliminated? Okay then, we’re caught up, let’s go to Switzerland.
I’ve done very little international travel, but I did spend five days in Switzerland once between my junior and senior years of high school, so I’m totally an expert. Bern: city named after a bear. Interlaken: city named after the intersection of two lakes. Nailed it!
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All the teams are traveling together by plane and train. Except this one part, when they have to change trains in Bern, and Joey and Meghan and Mona and Beth miss the connection. Run faster, you guys! The other teams laugh and high five as the train pulls away from the platform.
In fake relationship news:
Remember how Hockey and the Singers were teaming up and pretending to flirt? Their pretend relationships have been going on for two weeks, now. I’m guessing that Caroline and Jennifer are more competitive than they are romantic at this point, because the banter between the teams is maybe seven degrees warmer than friends.
Speaking of warmth, literally
It’s December in Switzerland! Shepherds deliver clues by traveling on a bike thing with skis instead of wheels. (Joey: “[shriek!] I want to ride it!”)
Speaking of warmth, metaphorically
Chuck and Wynona, man. He tells her to run, she tells him not to run. He takes her pack and tells her to run faster, she doesn’t run as fast as him. It’s a theme this week.
So they take a train to the highest rail station in Europe, Jungfraujoch (and oh how that word rolls off Phil’s tongue). Eleven thousand feet above sea level, which is only like ten thousand eight hundred and sixty feet higher than my house, so big whoop.
They each get a St. Bernard to take on a train, and we get to see the Singers make out with their dog while Wynona tells the camera that Chuck treats the dog better than her. Again: theme.
After traveling with the dogs and running them through some snow to deliver them, the teams take an elevator that goes to a little station perched on the summit of a mountain. When you see this building, in the middle of a mountain range, surrounded by, well, nothing, you realize that humans are just crazy. Why did they need a train to go that high? Why build a station on a narrow summit? It’s insane!
Speaking of insanity, meet Eiger
Eiger is a mountain with a north face that’s pretty much a 6,000-foot vertical drop. It was first climbed in 1878, by some guy who was angry that no one had climbed it yet. Come on! That mountain’s been there forever and no one’s found a way to the top? What’s wrong with you people?!?!
Once Eiger was conquered, it was tunneled, and then they put in some nice observation windows, so just about any fool can go outside and stand on the side of the mountain. That’s progress.
For the Roadblock, team members climb out of one window onto a narrow (man-made) ledge, and inch their way across to the next window, collecting a gnome along the way. It’s freaky, but they have lots of safety cables (assuming they’re smart enough to keep all the cables connected, I hope there was quadruple redundancy), and they face the mountain so they don’t even have to look down.
Bates just cruises along the mountain, of course. Katie takes it bravely, not even scared. Jennifer is afraid of heights -- so she claims -- but seems to go quickly. Beth finishes quickly, too.
Wynona and Meghan are the last to do it. Meanwhile, a punctual Swiss train comes and takes the top four teams on to the next destination.