As my time in Austria nears its end, my wonderful friends here are trying to make some of my last moments my best. While eating dinner the other night, I was told to meet them at a cross street at 10:30 the next morning for an adventure I would never forget. I was told we were going to be outside, so bring fairly warm clothes and appropriate shoes. Having no idea what to expect, I arrived at the designated time, was greeted with coffee and was told to climb into the car with the others. My questions as to where we were going were consistently ignored, so I turned to the road signs to find some answers. At first, all I recognized were town names in the surrounding area, but then I noticed we kept following one sign in particular every time we changed direction: Grüner See. I recognized the name from something some of the other international students had been talking about a few days before. The only things I could remember about their discussion was that it was incredibly beautiful.
They were definitely not wrong.
Incredibly beautiful is an understatement. The lake is amazing, incredible, breathtaking. Hidden in a wooded area surrounded by jagged peaks, the lake was a bright turquoise color, even when the sun was not directly shining upon it.
Apparently this beautiful mountain lake is only there in all its glory a few months out of the year. In the winter, there is a snow-covered park, with only a small, shallow, frozen lake in the center of the area. Come mid-May to June, however, the snow melt turns the area into a beautiful lake several meters deep that becomes a world-renowned place for scuba divers. In fact, we saw several divers outfitted in wet suits preparing to brave the freezing cold, crystal-clear water. When I say crystal clear, I am in no way exaggerating. You could see every blade of grass, every flower underneath the water, as the snow melt had taken over the grassy area. There were times when you could not have known whether you were looking at grass or water if there had not been a reflection from the sun.
If any of you have the chance to visit this lake, please don’t let the opportunity pass you by! Just make sure you go after the snow melts in late spring, and before the lake begins to disappear once again in mid- to late July.
I’d like to thank my wonderful friends from Russia, Sudan and Japan for taking me to this amazing natural wonder. I never would have been able to get there on my own without a car, and couldn’t have asked for better company.
I hope you enjoyed these pictures, but they do not do this place justice. Really, if you are in Austria at the right time, take an afternoon, pack a lunch and go enjoy an afternoon at this magical place.