For those of you that know your military history, you may be familiar with the Soca Front of Slovenia, which was the third of the major frontlines of WW1 (the others being the eastern and western fronts). The Soca Front was named for the river that split up the opposing forces, the Soca River of Slovenia. With its various sections comprised of class 2-5 rapids, the Soca posed quite an obstacle for each of the armies to cross to make any headway against each other. The Water of the Soca is a surreal blue color due to its pouring out of limestone karstic rock formations in the area and is one of the most beautiful rivers that I have run across and one which will stoke any boater that makes the trip to the area.
Sitting very near to the Northeastern border of Italy, the Soca River has sections of water for everyone, with easy class 2-3 sections for the beginners or those that just want a day of play, to nice class 3-4 sections with slalom gates for those with competition in mind (Slovenia has a strong tradition of whitewater boating and slalom competition, in addition to mountaineering and tecnical climbing), to a great class 4-5 gorge section (referred to locally as the 'Cataracts section').
I visited Slovenia in Mid october after a work trip to Italy and was lucky enough to have high enough water to run the gorge section a few times while in the area. With fun technical boulder clog-type rapids, a few good drops (with one of about 3-4 meters), some sticky holes and enough sieves to keep you on your toes, the Gorge was a blast to run and very reminiscent of Watauga Gorge in the Boone, NC area of the US. I hooked up with some great Slovenian boaters through the super cool local Riot Dealer, Piero of Alpin Action (http://www.alpinaction.it/) in Trnovo, Slovenia (located at the putin for the Gorge section). If any of you are interested in hitting the Soca up, drop Piero a line and he will do his best to sort you out with anything from boating partners to any gear that you have spaced out and forgotten. To top it off, to the side of his shop is a boater's bar and coffee shop, situated perfectly to get your pre-boating espresso and your post-boating Union Pivo in!