In Bad Aussee, there were buses running every two hours or so to the lake, but not at the exact time I needed. Plus, navigating the complex bus system and buying tickets in a foreign language, and then anxiously waiting for the correct bus stop, didn't exactly sound appealing. Instead, in my quest to heed my Airbnb's host's advice, I made it to Altausseer Lake by going out for a run.
Google told me my proposed route was a 5-mile round trip, and it wasn’t long after I’d left the small city behind that I realized this would be a tricky but truly incredible jaunt. Soon I was puffing up a hill, along silent, isolated country roads, and between dew-covered fields slowly transforming in the morning sunlight.
A few miles in I stopped to take in the sight of two deer picking through a field, and realized my heavy breathing had been disturbing the rare sound of sheer silence. The two deer looked up in my direction, then back at each other, before bounding off into the safety of the forest.
Eventually I found a small dirt track that led down through dense trees, and when that ended I reached a parting that revealed the breathtakingly serene Altausseer See. There I sat for several minutes watching the water lap gently along the banks, before I turned and traced the canalized river all the way back to town.
As I arrived back at my room in the Airbnb house, with just 30 minutes to spare before my train departed, I bumped into the owner setting up breakfast in the living room. She looked me up and down — muddy, sweaty and beaming — and seemed to know exactly where I’d been. “The lake is amazing,” I said, still catching my breath. “Thanks for the recommendation.”