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Before embarking on the cable-car trek up to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, where I would think I was dying of hypothermia as I stood outside in 14-degree temperatures while wearing too-thin layers, I hiked through the quaint hamlet of Furi, just below Zermatt, Switzerland.
Our group walked easily along the path, passing charming chalets, grazing sheep and cows with clanging decorative bells adorning their necks. We crossed a suspension bridge hung over a 300-foot-deep gorge to explore Dossen Glacier Garden, where travelers can see rock cauldrons eroded by glacial meltwater __ the effects of the last ice age __ as well as a soapstone quarry.
After our chilly Matterhorn adventure, my ravenous travel companions and I stopped in Furi once again, this time to dine on fondue and rosti (potato fritters) at Bergrestaurant Blatten, a rustic yet elegant alpine restaurant that dates back to 1850, when it began as a small, family-run teahouse.
We made our way back to Zermatt in the dusky evening light, our bellies full and hearts light after an adventurous day. I even made some new friends along the way __ though they were the kind that would eat your homework if you turned your back.