Day 20: Wednesday, 3 May 2023 – Istanbul, Türkiye (41° 8′ 40 N, 29° 43′ 7 E)

Good Morning all…and what a good morning in Laker Land…Just kidding, sorry. We have successfully repositioned for the final time globally. We have arrived in Istanbul. One of my top five favorite cities in the world–Paris, London, Kyoto & Vienna. Oddly, we had to fly slightly east to further our westward global trajectory home…our coming exit strategy will bring us to…someplace else.

The last time we actually did scavenges here in IST, was over a decade ago, 2011…and I remember having to sneak out the bag door of our hotel to avoid the May Day riots outside our hotel adjacent to Taksim Square. Fun times.

Well, Teams all checked in last night in Zagreb, a tad worse for the wear, I must admit. It was a grueling, challenging, anxiety & movement filled five days for them. We collectively welcomed Team Burkes in Wanderland back from their hiatus & celebrated Anne of Trip Tellers birthday.

First, the Old News. After extensive Team Peer Reviews & probing Road Official math, a few stearn talking to’s, and adjustments for “misunderstandings” of the rules, here’s what we know about long & challenging five-day Par 6 Balkan Leg #6:
10th Place: Free 2B…and the first Team to do a scavenge in Albania by 90 minutes!
9th Place: Mom’s on the Run…who make the best videos.
8th Place: Look, Squirrel

The rest of the Teams teamed up on the leg (which was allowed), one way or another…sharing in travel savvy, logistics, strategies & costs for this arduous leg. Snacks too by the looks of the photos…So that means that these place orders are a tad different today for this leg:

6th Place: Two Teams tied for 6th place (Bar Setters & Trip Tellers)…who completed 58 scavenges & 9 Bonuses for 3,440 points.

3rd Place: Three Teams, who also Teamed up, tied for 3rd position–Rayven’s, Cubs Fans & Hem & Haw–together they completed 72 scavenges & 11 Bonuses together for a slightly adjusted 4,362 points.

2nd Place: Lawyers without Borders & Order & Chaos also teamed up for the leg & completed 68 Scavenges plus 12 Bonuses…earning 4,507 points. But Lawyers without Borders officially placed 2nd.
1st Place: Because Order & Chaos won the leg outright based on earning an extra hundred points for staying in the cheapest hotel room ($17) while in the Balkans…some sweet spot in southern Montenegro I hear.

Congrats to all. Please click here to view the newly minted Official Leaderboard following Leg #6, the top five podium-leaning Teams are:
5th Place: Trip Tellers at 81
4th Place: Cubs Fans at 79
3rd Place: Rayven at 71
2nd Place: Lawyers without Borders at 45
1st Place: Order Chaos at 29

Three-Things I Learned from The Balkan Par 6 Leg: analysis, takeaways and fact-checks.
1 – This event is a three-way competition for 3rd place at this point.
2 – Order & Chaos and Lawyers without Borders were pretty amazing.
3 – Border delays suck.

Five Türkiye Sample Scavenges:
● Take a Photo Safari looking for street art in an old section of town.
● Indulge in a traditional Turkish bath (hammam).
● Negotiate for a rug in Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar.
● Catch a Whirling Dervishes performance.
● Swim in the Black Sea.

We will be in Istanbul for two nights, leaving Friday afternoon to our return North America city, Montréal, Canada.

More later…

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