A few years ago Logan got me tickets to Cirque de Soleil. He had the webpage open on his computer, which he wrapped up and put under the tree. I was so confused at first, but once I understood what was going on I loved the idea of giving someone an experience gift and wrapping it in some clever or unique way. Experience gifts are when you give someone the opportunity to do something (like hot air ballooning or a massage) versus a physical gift (like socks, although socks are great too). Lately I have been a big fan of experience gifts so for Christmas last year I gave my mom river rafting on the Soca River. After waiting five long months, we finally got to squeeze into our wetsuits and float down the insanely beautiful Soca River.
There are a few companies in Kobarid that take tourists onto the river and the prices are basically all the same (within a few euro), so we went with the company that had the friendliest (and cutest) sales guy. We met our group at 10:45 am and got all geared up. The water is very cold so we wore wetsuits and jackets and booties. The group had a family of Slovenians (with grandpa), two Americans who are currently living in Germany, a guide and us. With ten people in the boat things were a little crowded, but we had lots of chances to jump into the freezing water to play around. The rafting itself was pretty low key, but the surroundings more than made up for the lack of thrills.
Rafting on the Soca was so beautiful and peaceful and the kayakers whizzing by made me wish I had learned to kayak so that I too could spend more time floating on one of the most beautiful rivers I have ever seen.
After a fun morning rafting we switched gears a bit and headed to the World War I museum in Kobarid, which actually won an award for Best European Museum back in 1993. The Soca Valley played a huge role during World War I and the museum has a really interesting collection of memorabilia from that period. The valley was a major battle zone between the Austo-Hungarian Empire and the Italians and the museum does a good job of presenting the history without showing bias. Kobarid was once called Caporetto, and the town gained some literary fame when Ernest Hemmingway spoke of it in his novel A Farewell to Arms.
We loved our stay in Kobarid. By the time we left my mom was figuring out how she was going to swing moving to Slovenia for a while. The Soca Valley was everything I had hoped that it would be, and with our time in Slovenia coming to an end, I once again found myself figuring out when we could go back to explore more. I suppose it would help if my mom owns a home there… kidding… maybe.