Woke up at the Scandic Vulcan in Grünerløkka and taxied to the middle of downtown Oslo. It was beautiful… and so nice to finally get to leave the red box we’d been limited to.

We filmed our “arrival” in town and are filmed walking around Oslo taking pictures.

Eventually we find Fridtjof near the National Theater. We’re told that we’ll be doing a scavenger hunt, and because we won the Munch picture competition, we’d have 1 minute taken off our time. Blue goes first, and then it’s go time for us. After quickly asking a tour guide and a statue for help (neither of whom offer), we find a group of 4 kids who know Alt For Norge and are happy to assist. Better yet, they have phones and Google!

The kids get us to our first stop, and another lady nearby helps us with the name we need. Sweet! Our next clue directs us to find 4 chilled out Beatles fan poets at a library not far away. We may not have taken the very most direct route – but nonetheless find them and get our clue.

We’re making good time, but eventually lose our friends to their prior engagement, AND we’re told we can’t ask people to Google things for us. Damn! But we’re still making decent time and headed towards the cemetery where Henrik Ibsen is buried. As we approach the grave, we reread our clue and quickly realize that we don’t need his name, we need his ex-wife’s! Crap! We ask all around (we don’t have any other options) and FINALLY someone gives us Susanna. We feel like idiots when we see that Susanna is buried right next to him, and it’s the incorrect answer.

We reread the clue AGAIN and realize that no, it’s not his ex-wife or wife, but a character in the play Doll House! Shoot, we it was pretty straightforward and we just wasted a lot of time!

Our next clue directs us to a bar where the fictional character in a book that’s being turned into a movie hangs out. We leave the cemetery in what turns out to be the right direction, quickly run into a nice couple who are happy to help, and are directed to Schroeders. At Schroeders we find Fridtjof in the corner and learn the competition is over. Phew!

We felt okay about our performance – we were helped early by the kids, but lost some time in the cemetery, which I feel terrible about as I was the one who read and was holding the clue!

The competition itself was a little frustrating being that it was a timed race, and you couldn’t run or even walk at a brisk pace, but all of us completely understand the rationale – it’s a TV show we signed up for, and sprinting would make for terrible TV.

We get Thai food for lunch, and after interviews it’s time for results. Fridtjof tells us our time of 43:18, minus the one minute advantage brings the time to beat down to 42:18. “The difference was only 2 minutes and 38 seconds” says Fridtjof. They certainly could have turned in a sub 40 time but it’s mildly encouraging. It shows that the relatively small 2.3% advantage we were given wasn’t a difference maker – but 6 episodes in, none of the 5 advantages won have made an iota of difference, and I can understand only getting a minute based on it almost assuredly being a fairly close race.

Fridtjof finally drops the hammer, and Team Blue gets the decided win with a time of about 39 minutes and 40 seconds. Hats off to them. Take out the advantage and they got us by 8.4%, AND they never used Google, there was an initial miscommunication that let us get away with it early on, which almost certainly improved our time, so again hats off to Team Blue.

With the loss, me and Kelsey will face our first elimination challenge yet here in Episode 6 in a few days. I said from the get go, I’m not going to completely avoid individual competitions, the odds of that are minuscule. The same situation goes for Kelsey who up until now was 4 for 4. Obviously it’s frustrating losing in an even numbered week where your teammate has the troll, but absolutely nothing that can be done about it. Me vs. Kels vs. Richard, mano a mano on Tuesday! The way I see it… I’m in Oslo and in 2 days I have a 2 in 3 chance to go on an amazing Norwegian adventure! Good odds in my book!

We then wait around for the crew to set things up, and we’re brought to the Grand Hotel in Oslo. Wow. I’ve stayed at some nice spots, and this one certainly compares! Johnny and I have our own living room, and a view looking out to the parliament down the road from the Royal Palace.

An hour later we were off to dinner at Olivia’s, and Italian restaurant along the water at the harbor near Aker Brygge. It’s a beautiful spot – in fact, the whole city is amazing. It’s funny to think we’ve spent so many days not more than 10 blocks from all this wonder, but now that we’re here it feels brand new. We’re happy that for the rest of the show we won’t be limited in terms of our travel in the city! Hallelujah!

Now – in terms of the upcoming competition, my guesses are frequently wrong – BUT in previous seasons it’s been common to see a National Anthem competition. Fridtjof specifically mentioned that Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson was a Norwegian who won a Nobel prize and also wrote the National Anthem – so I’m going to take some time and make sure I learn the first verse (apparently that’s the one everybody sings) by heart in preparation for Tuesday. It would certainly fit into the theme of art and culture. Obviously we’d all get time to learn the song – I’m not sure about Kelsey’s knowledge of it, and I don’t think Richard knows it. It kills me inside not to share this theory with anyone, but it’s stuff like that I have to keep close to my chest. I want this adventure to keep going and I want to meet my family, so I have to compete – especially when my back is against the wall! Nothing tomorrow until 12:20, so I’ll have plenty of time to relax and study up. I mean who knows, maybe we’ll be building a doll house!

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