Big Ole isn’t the only giant figure in our neighbor to the west. Paul Bunyon and Babe the Blue Ox have been greeting visitors to Bemidji, Minn., since 1937 and are, according to the Kodak Company, the second most photographed statues in the U.S., behind only Mount Rushmore. The famous lumberjack isn’t from Iceland, but he would look right at home hiking the island’s Laugavegur trail in his classic red plaid shirt.
Enjoy a slice — or two. We stopped at local legend Betty’s Pies in Two Harbors, Minn., on the shore of Lake Superior. What does this have to do with Iceland? Well … I’m sure they enjoy a good slice of pie there (who doesn’t?) and I did mention this was a cruise to Iceland, right? Trust me, you eat a LOT of pie during a two-week cruise! If you visit Betty’s Pies, I suggest the 5 Layer Chocolate Pie. It’s the No. 1 seller for one reason: Cinnamon meringue. That’s just one of the pie’s layers along with dark chocolate, whipped cream and chocolate whipped cream — all piled on a flaky crust.
For the love of Spam. While I have never eaten Spam — not one bite — my husband, Rex, is a fan of the canned meat product. And we both enjoy kitschy attractions. Which explains how we ended up at the Spam Museum in Austin, Minn. It’s basically an interactive promotion for the Hormel Foods Corp., with a colorful gift store attached, but it’s also a lot of fun. You will learn stuff, too, like the history of Spam, which fed U.S. troops during World War II, and its growing international popularity. In South Korea, high-end Spam gift boxes are a popular holiday present, which is good to know as Secret Santa season approaches. And before you ask, yes, the Monty Python “Spam” sketch plays continuously in the museum. There’s also a place where you can sign up to receive digital Spam recipes, but be aware it will lead to Spam spam emails!