Rafting na Soči

Now and Then

Today, it is quite hard to imagine that the river Soča, which is now full of laughter, enjoyment and fun, was once a place of war. The Soča valley was the location of one of the most diverse Slovenian fronts in the World War 1, the famous Soča front. The gaze upon the valley was horrendous then, the beautiful grass crushed by the boots of soldiers and the hooves of horses and the clear water of the river tarnished with red. The surroundings of the river became a permanent residence of the soldiers of two opposing sides with numerous battles, while the residents had to flee their homes to survive. In the end, Austro-Hungarian forces were victorious, however, the victory was bitter-sweet. The destruction was omnipresent. The number of deaths on both sides was unimaginable, including a great many civil victims, making it one of the most brutal war zones in Slovenian history.

Today the river is clear of blood and gunfire. No longer a horrendous place it once was, Soča is now a widely visited place. A great number of people come every year to partake in numerous activities the river offers. Soča rafting (Slovenian phrase is rafting na Soči) and canyoning Bovec are just two examples of the various water sports that happen on the river. Rafting na Soči and canyoning Bovec bring a large smile to anyone’s face. Behind people’s laughter, behind fun activities such as rafting na Soči and canyoning Bovec and behind the fun atmosphere, however, there is still a bitter aftertaste. The surroundings of Soča were once the valley of death and suffering and, although the people have recovered, the sad memory of this black period will live on and the brave sacrifice of the wounded soldiers will never be forgotten.