Bovec is known as the adventure capital of the Soca River valley, so of course we had to partake in some adventure. We opted for rafting, the cheapest option, and something we had done once before on the rivers in Richmond, Virginia. (There are actually class III and IV rapids right by the city of Richmond). We chose a company that had good reviews and had been in business for about 20 years (we suppose since the fall of communism).
We ended up rafting with a big stag party – otherwise known as a bachelor party. I was the only girl in a group of about 12 Italian guys and Sean. If only I had pictures of Sean and I, surrounded by the Italians, with too small wetsuits and silly looking helmets. If the Italians were not drunk, they were certainly slap happy. There was much singing, roughhousing, and silliness, which pretty much set the tone for the trip. When we went rafting in Richmond, there were lots of rules, instructions, and seriousness. In Slovenia, it was the opposite. There were some instructions, and we wore life jackets, wet suits, and helmets. But about 15 minutes into the trip down the river, all trust in our guide was lost. He told us to prop ourselves up on the side of the boat so that we could paddle faster. Suspicious, everyone did as he said. Two seconds later, I found myself in the freezing cold river, sputtering and flailing around, along with everyone else in our raft – except the guide.
Being intentionally pushed overboard pretty much erased any credibility the guide had. Not to mention the guide’s directions for us to intentionally ram the raft onto rocks or the other raft with the rest of the Italians (both much to the delight of our Italian raftmates). So it was hard to know if our guide was serious when he said things like, anyone want to jump off that rock? It is about 700 meters high but it is really fun! or we need to paddle hard up here, because at least four people die here every year.
It was unseasonably cold and rained every day except one while we were in Slovenia, and this Saturday was no exception. The rain was constant while we were on the river. This company had advertised that they would go out rain or shine, and would never cancel, just delay if it was storming too bad. As we rafted down the river, we heard loud claps of thunder and saw at least one bolt of lightening. I kept glancing at Sean, wondering if the rain or shine policy really was a good idea.
We knew we were a long way from home when the guide had everyone get off the raft and flipped it up onto a rock. He instructed everyone not just to slide down the raft, but to run down it. Despite my wariness of the guide, I suppose I trusted that we would not land on a pile of jagged rocks or get caught in a huge undercurrent when our guide started doing backflips in the air into the water.
Although a risk taker I am not (not counting the part where I gave up a career and house to travel the world), it was fun to loosen up a bit and splash around in the water. Plus, actually rafting the rapids was pretty neat as well. The rapids were not huge, but fast enough to give you a little thrill as you sailed down the river. It was wild to be out there in rushing blue-green waters, tree covered mountains on either side, soaking wet, with pouring rain beating down on your face and roars of thunder overhead. Especially because we did not, in fact, get struck by lightening.