When we were young, the answer to the title was simple – dirt. The more of it was on our bodies at the end of the day, the better the day was. There is no better measure for the amount of fun in my opinion. My kids are too often too clean, probably also due to our meddling in the things that should be left to the kids´ decision making. However, every now and again we manage to really achieve the best evidence of a good day. When we manage to achieve the measure for a whole week, that is what I call a good holiday.
As I said, we went for a five day trip to a region of Slovenia that I haven´t visited properly or to be more precise, haven´t experienced it properly. Now that we have, I regret waiting almost 40 years to get to know one of the most picturesque and wild places in Slovenia. The town of Kobarid and Tolmin
offer nice central points in the valley where you can turn to when out of ideas what to do on a rainy day. But other than that the true beauty and treasure is hidden in the nature activities that range from walking and swimming in cold rivers to proper adrenaline activities. And Kobarid and Tolmin are the best starting-points for those activities. As we are a bit on the lazy side of things, we did not do any of the adrenaline things that are on offer (ranging from paragliding to bungee jumping). We instead stayed to the more relaxing swimming and walking activities…and eating, yes, that is also an activity for us.
Therefore, our main daily destination was the River Nadiža, that was a couple of kilometers from our rented apartment. The first few days we stayed at the riverside that was just next to a payable parking lot. However, I managed to sniff out a more secluded location on the river that offered more privacy and more activities on the river (the river which is mostly a shallow stream offered some deeper ponds there that allowed for some jumping and we even took the SUP on it, but it was not big enough for proper peddling, so we just used it a float).
The cold water was enough of a deterrent for us to want to see other things, other than lying on the river bed and doing nothing. So we went to the Kobarid museum, which features a really nice presentation of the final battles on the Soča front-line of the I World War. The Kostnica church that looms over Kobarid is a proper reminder of those times, with names of each of more than 7000 soldiers that died there (which is just a small part of the real casualties of the Soča frontline). An important part of our history that our kids need to learn as fast as they can not to repeat. The best thing of this experience was the next step which is the Kolovrat open-air museum, which is basically a restored part of the frontline. Kolovrat gave us a feeling of the experience the soldiers had (well, the way they were positioned and dug in, not the war-like fear and terror) and amazing sights of the surrounding mountains and hills. Also, Kolovrat sits right on the Slovenian-Italian border, which meant that you were able to skip the border at will and nobody shot us for it – luckily the time of us shooting our neighbors for passing borders are long past.
And of course there are the waterfalls and gorges and streams of thousand colors. We only saw a handful but we got the taste of what a rugged, rocky dynamic terrain can design out of water-flows. Slap/waterfall Kozjak and Tolmin gorges are prime examples of what Soča valley has on offer. The results of the nature´s sculpting are amazing and enjoyable but for the hordes of people that (as we did) come to marvel at their beauty. The crowds at the most famous sites is basically my only complaint regarding our trip. Although the Soča valley is a secluded part of Slovenia, with no motorway leading right to it, it is not removed far enough for deterring masses of people from coming to enjoy the natural beauty. And when there is too many people, the experience of it is less adventurous as it could have been – quite the opposite of most of the times when we traveled across Scotland four years ago. Next to the flows and water basins there were the mountains with one looming over us almost everywhere we went – the Krn. No matter how I tried I could not capture a 2 dimensional image of this amazing piece of rock that would do it justice.
It would not be proper to end on the larger natural treasures. As it has apparently become our tradition, we have come to love the smaller inhabitants of the different regions. My wife and I like to spot out birds, while the kids like to search for different insects and other creatures – this time it was fish. When you catch them at a proper moment and enhance the picture, you really do get a weird but gorgeous result.
Looking at the post above it somehow does not do our experience justice – the pictures we took, despite my efforts are too realistic. Maybe I should have enhanced them in a more artistic way, which would perhaps capture also the emotions of the moment. Cause, make no mistake, it is a magical country, full of mystery, history and palpable character that will get under your skin and never let go. We will go back there again.