Curious Traveler

Curious Traveler takes viewers on an enriching and entertaining "field trip for grown-ups" to some of the most intriguing cities in the world. Daytime Emmy-winning travel, arts and entertainment journalist Christine Van Blokland explores the hidden history's in each location's art, architecture, museums, monuments, houses of worship and city parks.

van Blokland brings her passion and genuine curiosity for the arts, quirky characters, storytelling, lifelong learning and travel to the series.

Distributed by: American Public Television (APT)
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Christine van Blokland

Christine van Blokland

Christine van Blokland is an Emmy-winning travel and arts journalist. Born in Scotland, she has traveled the world as the creator, host, writer and executive producer of Curious Traveler. She has received several National Daytime Emmy nominations, SATW & NATJA Awards, and has given travel talks at the Smithsonian. Her travel motto is ‘Never stop learning’, although she’ll never learn how to pack light. 

Curious About - New York City

Episode #101H · Why are the constellations backwards in Grand Central? Why are there acorns all over the place? Why does the Great Hall at the Met look like the Baths of Caracalla? Why is there a golden Diana statue in the middle of the Met, and what does that have to do with the General Sherman statue by The Plaza? Why is Rockefeller Center's Atlas statue permanently grimacing at St. Patrick's Cathedral? And what does he have to do with the Pieta inside?

Curious About - London

Episode #102H · Why is St. Paul's Cathedral such an iconic symbol of London? And why doesn't it face due East? And what does St. Paul have to do with the City of London crest? What is the City of London and why can't the Queen come in? Why do so many London neighborhoods end in -gate? Why is Temple Church round? And what did those secretive Knights Templar do here? And what does all of this have to do with Magna Carta - and why has a copy remained at Salisbury Church for 800 years?

Curious About - Wales

Episode #103H · Why is there a dragon on the Welsh flag? Why does the man next-in-line for the British throne hold the title the "Prince of Wales"? What are the Walls of Constantinople doing all the way over here? Who is King Longshanks? And how is he related to King Vortigern and Magnus Maximus? Where is Britain's smallest church? I can't see it! And how the heck do you pronounce the second longest place name in the world: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch???

Curious About - Montreal

Episode #104H · Why did the French settle here? And why is French still the official language here (as well as English)? Why is there a Paris Metro Stop in the middle of the city? Why is Notre-Dame Basilica bathed in blue? And why does it slope downwards towards the altar? Why does the Hotel de Ville look like DC's Eisenhower Building and why does the Bank of Montreal look like the Pantheon? And is there really an ongoing archaeological dig going on under your feet at Place Royal?

Curious About - Asheville, North Carolina

Episode #105H · Why is there a French Loire Valley castle in the middle of the American Deep South? Did you know that the name "Biltmore" is completely made up? Why did the architects of the Statue of Liberty, the New York Subway and Central Park put their stamp on this small town? Why did Henry Ford, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Edison all stay in a hotel where it looks like the roof is melting? And how did Scots-Irish immigrants create American country music?

Curious About - Victoria, British Columbia

Episode #106H · Who was "A.B.C. Architect" and why did he design such a grand Parliament Building in Victoria? What is Fan Tan Alley, and what does it have to do with the 2nd oldest Chinatown in North America? How did an 11th and 12th century French, Spanish & Italian Romanesque-style castle, built for a Scottish self-made millionaire, become 'Canada's Castle'? Why isn't there a sign above the main entrance to The Empress Hotel? And finally, as we take High Tea here, is it pinkies up or down?

Curious Paris

Episode #201 · Why does Paris look like Paris? Why were the Eiffel Tower and the Pont Alexandre III built for World Expos? Why is the Opera Garnier so ornate? Why is there a Romano-Byzantine Basilica atop the highest point in Paris? Why are the streets so windy in Montmartre? Why was a famous cabaret built inside a red mill: the Moulin Rouge?

Curious Rome

Episode #202 · Why is there a giant hole in the top of the Pantheon? And how is it still standing after more than two millennia? Why does Piazza Navona look like a racetrack? And why did it used to be a swimming pool? Where did the bronze for St. Peter's Basilica come from, and why are those windows in the dome so heavenly?

Curious Copenhagen

Episode #203 · Why did Shakespeare use Kronborg Castle as the setting for Hamlet? Was picturesque Nyhavn really the playground for sailors and brothels? Christiansborg Palace, Amalienborg Palace, Rosenborg Castle - why so many palaces in one small European country?

Curious Vancouver

Episode #204 · Who was Gassy Jack and why was he so gassy? Why was Capilano Suspension Bridge built and what do all those totem poles mean? What's so important about the Hotel Vancouver, and what does it have to do with the train station, the Queen of England, and Harry Potter? Who was Yip Sang, and why did he have his own Boy Scout Troop?

Curious Loire Valley

Episode #205 · When and why were so many stunning chateaux built in such a concentrated area in central France? Why is there a river running through Chateau de Chenonceau, and what do the ladies of the castle have to do with it? Why does Chateau de Chambord have 440 rooms, yet no one ever lived there? Why is there a porcupine over the entrance to Chateau d'Amboise?

Curious Venice

Episode #206 · Where is the hidden symbol of Venice on the iconic gondola? Why are there two different saints on the gateway columns? Why is the solar system off on Torre dell'Orologio? Why does Saint Mark's Basilica look like Hagia Sophia? Why does the Doge's Palace have a Stairway of Giants, and what do those symbols mean?

Curious Kotor

Episode #207 · Why is there a beautiful, tiny blue-domed church floating in Kotorska Bay? Why did someone build 1350 steps up the side of Kotor's mountain? Why is The Cathedral of Saint Tryphon pink? And why are the towers mismatched? Why are the streets within the fortress walls intentionally in a maze?

Curious Oslo

Episode #208 · Why are you encouraged to walk on the rooftop of the Oslo Opera House? Why did Vikings live here, and why are their ships shaped like that? Why was the Oslo National Theatre built, and what's that secret staircase? What is the troll legend, and why did it happen here?

Curious Bordeaux

Episode #209 · Who got hitched at Bordeaux Cathedral and why was it such an important moment in history? Did Parisian architecture actually come from Bordeaux? Why is Bordeaux so synonymous with wine? What was the Place de la Bourse hiding? What do all these sculptures mean at Place des Quinconces? Why were two ancient gates spared?

Curious Sorrento

Episode #210 · Why did the ancient Roman rich and famous choose to vacation here? Who opened the gate for the bad guys in the 1500s? What does the town clock tower symbolize? What's the history of majolica tile art? Why are Sorrento lemons and limoncello so famous?

Curious Stockholm

Episode #211 · What did Alfred Nobel invent that led him to create the Nobel Prize? What is Gamla Stan? What's so important about the throne inside the Royal Palace of Stockholm? What is the Djurgarden Canal, and why was it only for the Royal Family? Why did the Swedes grow grass on their rooftops, and what's the history of their folk costumes?

Curious French Villages

Episode #212 · Why did the famous French architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc only work on one residence: the historic Roquetaillade Castle? Why is there a monolithic church in Saint-Emilion? And why did its monk sleep underground? Why is there a giant wall around the tiny village of Blaye? And why was beautiful Bourg-en-Gironde built into the side of a cliff? And how do Cadillac and Pauillac make time stand still?