Welcome back to Beautiful Spaces—a series of posts in which I talk about the places where I stay during my travels. It all started in 2013 when I realized that my contentment on the road is directly connected to how much I love where I’m living…and so made a commitment to find beautiful spaces to call home along the way. This is one such space. I received a discount on this particular stay and two free excursions in exchange for this review. But, as always, opinions are my own.
As you know, from the end of July until the end of August, Luna and I based ourselves in Slovenia’s stunning Soca Valley in a small town (population just over 1,000) called Kobarid. I really liked everywhere I visited in Slovenia, but I was glad that I decided to spend the most time here in the Soca with its impressive gorges, creamy blue Soca River, and forested hiking paths.
Airbnbs were few and far between in this off-the-beaten-track area, so I planted myself for the month at X Point–a combination hostel and adventure sports tour provider.
The hostel was clean, simple, and well-kept with a shared kitchen and two shared bathrooms and showers in the hall. Internet generally worked well (though occasionally Skype or downloads ran slow and I had to run to the cafe next door) and the staff were incredibly friendly and helpful, ever available to look up bus schedules, help me locate a drying rack, call the vet for me, or answer questions.
In addition to the bright, simple rooms, the hostel features a pretty big kitchen and a small outdoor area with two large wooden tables where you can eat, chat, or just enjoy the breeze and the owner has plans to expand the property with a second-floor terrace hang-out area.
As with any hostel (or really any accommodation), you can’t always choose your neighbors (the weirdest ones during my own stay kept moving the hand soap into the shower). But the owners are committed to quiet after 10 p.m. and to keeping the place clean, so even if you do get some bad neighbors, all you have to do is talk to the management. I did hear some hallway noise from my room, but generally if I poked my head into the hall and asked people to keep it down, they were happy to oblige.
But more impressive than the hostel is the adventure sports tour company, which is X Point’s primary business. Even if you’re staying elsewhere, their excursions are something to check out. They do everything from tandem paragliding to river rafting to canyoning. And they were kind enough to invite me on a couple excursions.
First, I tried canyoning…something I’d never done before.
It was everything you might imagine: sliding down natural waterslides (formerly known as waterfalls), climbing down ropes on slippery rocks, jumping into pools of cool water (particularly refreshing in the heat of August).
The most impressive thing, though, and the reason that I heartily recommend them, is their guides. Not only are these guys super nice, but they’re also really good with those of us who get a bit nervous along the way. I know this because, while I could easily slide down the natural slides (even the scary giant ones), when it came time to launch myself off a rock and into the water, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Straight away, the guides stepped in to help me to lower jump points and waited patiently while I worked up the courage to do those lower jumps.
I’m so grateful because I really loved the experience of canyoning, even though I was too scared to do the high jumps. Without such kind and helpful guides, I might have spent the day embarrassed or wracked with nerves. But they never made me feel as if my fear was a big deal. Even the nervous among us can have grand adventures with guides like those.
My second excursion was rafting, something I hadn’t done for about 15 years. Mostly easy going with a few fun rapids thrown in along the way, this trip was also a delight. And if you’re feeling too nervous to go canyoning, rafting is a great mix of adventure and feeling perfectly safe.
And pro tip: if you want tougher routes, possible raft flips, and adrenaline, an all-adult group will get you that. If you’re looking for a softer ride, tag along with a family with kids. The guide will take it easier on you.
Want to check out X Point for yourself? Here’s their website.
Planning a trip to Europe? You can see all the beautiful spaces I’ve stayed in here.