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Rachel Blake, a character in The Lost Experience, uses blogs and videos to update her fans through the secret section of her website (accessed by entering the password evident agenda). However, on the surface, Rachel is supposedly a typical traveller through Europe, and so she uses her 'cover blogs' to hide her true motives for travelling to parts of the world in pursuit of the Hanso Foundation. Rachel has so far visited a number of locations.
Copenhagen, Denmark (June 19th)
Text from the blog
Hi everyone, welcome to my European travel blog. I’m Rachel Blake, I’m 24, and yes, this trip is coming two years late. I feel like I’m in the minority amongst my friends, who all seemed to find a way to spend six months after graduation backpacking through Europe. Silly me, I sold out and got a real-life job with an evil megalithic corporation.
Well, that job has ended, and now I’m here. But, no youth hostels or hitchhiking for me, thanks. I actually made some money at that job I mentioned, and I’m going to spend just a little bit of it…
However, one thing I haven’t done is plan anything. I’m starting in Copenhagen, and from there, I’m just gonna play it by ear. Who wants to have a stressful vacation?
So, why Copenhagen? Why Denmark? Maybe I’ve read Hamlet one too many times. Or maybe, just maybe I wanted to begin in the seat of Europe’s oldest monarchy. The place was founded in 1167!
While I’m here, I hope to a) become a better interior designer by osmosis, b) see Rosenborg Castle, the Round Tower, Tivoli Gardens, the Little Mermaid – yep, she’s here!, c) shop the Stroget, d) eat a Danish hotdog (they’re famous!), and e) RELAX by the beautiful lakes. Ah.
Reykjavik, Iceland (June 28th)
Text from the blog
While I have no love for the Minnesota Vikings, Scandinavian Vikings absolutely captivate me. It was while visiting the Viking ship museum that I decided to come here, to Iceland.
It’s not as cold as you’d think. Apparently, this place is a literal hotbed of volcanic activity (bad joke), and is mainly powered by geothermal and hydroelectric energy. Which could explain why it’s so clean. And full of spas. Which I will certainly be enjoying.
Interesting fact: Iceland has one of the most genetically homogeneous populations in the world. Most of the men are of Nordic descent, while the majority of the women are of Celtic background. Also, people’s last names are derived from their father’s first names. So, I guess Bjork Guomondsdottir, for example, has a father named Guomond. Pretty cool.
The landscape is really like something out of a science fiction movie. Green glades leading to craggy black peaks and shimmering blue glaciers. It’s gorgeous. Not to mention the fjords and geysers. Of course, I’m a city girl, so I’m staying in Reykjavik. Yes, it’s one of the world’s premiere nightlife spots. But, that’s not why I’m here. I swear!
Anyway, if you know me at all, you know I’m really here to check out Laugevegurinn, the main shopping drag. What can I say? I may also take a trip today down the coast, perhaps to the city of Vik. It’s supposed to be gorgeous, and I think it’s at the southernmost tip of the island, so it will feel like an accomplishment.
Sanremo, Italian Riviera (July 3rd)
Text from the blog
The Italian Riviera. Sanremo to be exact, right on the Mediterranean. It’s known as the City of Flowers, and I think I might just stay here forever, strolling the palm-lined streets, picking olives from the hills… Okay, I may take a trip to Florence to check out the Palazzo Medici. But then it’s right back to the Riviera. Maybe Portofino or Lerici. Just think of every romantic feeling you’ve ever had and then draw a coastline. You’ll probably get the Italian Riviera.
I’m not here so much for the sites as a state of being. That state being full of incredible food and wine. For those of you who don’t know, Northern Italian cuisine differs greatly from the kind you are used to – you know, a jar of sauce and a handful of dried spaghetti. It’s mostly seafood here, and I can’t get enough of the Pesto Genovese.
I may hop on one of the charter tour boats today or tomorrow (I know, I know, but I AM a tourist) to check out the coastline from the sea. Fact is, I know myself too well. I’m going to have to keep myself busy, even though that may be a somewhat anti-Italian Riviera mode of thinking!
Paris, France (July 14th)
Text from the blog
I can’t imagine a trip to Europe without Paris. If I had had to pick only one city, this would have been it. Maybe it’s because I was brainwashed by six years of French classes in high school and college, maybe it’s because I’ve watched Casablanca a hundred thousand times, but when I think Europe, I think Paris.
I took the Eurail through the French countryside from the Italian Riviera, which would have been stunning, I’m sure, had it been light outside. Why was I traveling so early? That’s another story for another time.
So, yes, I’m going to see all the sights. I have it lined up: the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Centre Pompidou, the Seine, the Bastille, the Champs Elysee, the Arc de Triomphe, the list goes on and on. I’m going to eat baguettes and croissants, and listen to accordion music, and wear a beret, and talk to mimes, and essentially participate in every clichéd example of Paris touristry I can think of. And nobody can stop me.
Oh, and I’m going to shop.
- The blogs contain a lot of information about the countries visited, and links are given to tourist information.
- The cover blog was also used to hide a number of glyphs during the hansoexposed.com glyph quest.
- On September 14th, Malik also left Rachel a coded correspondence in the sourcecode of the cover blog page.