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m Wed-Mon) Opposite the Alp Hotel, the Summer Garden has pizza, grilled dishes and trout at affordable prices.
Its garden is lovely in summer ¨C as it should be, given the name.
Plec Caffe CAFE ( 041 775 127; Trg Golobarskih ?rtev 18; 8am-1am Jul & Aug, 5pm-1am Sep-Jun) This pleasant cafe in the heart of town attracts punters till the wee (for Bovec) hours year-round.
Information Bar Kavarna ( 388 63 35; Trg Golobarskih ?rtev 25; 30min €1.
50; 7am- 11pm Mon-Thu, 7am-midnight Fri & Sat, 8am-8pm Sun) Nova KBM Banka (Trg Golobarskih ?rtev 47) Post Office (Trg Golobarskih ?rtev 8; 8-9.
30am, 10am-3.
30pm & 4-6pm Mon-Fri, 8am-noon Sat) Tourist Information Centre Bovec (TIC; 388 19 19; www.bovec.
si; Trg Golobarskih ?rtev 8; 8.
30pm summer, 9am-6pm winter) Has an ATM next door.
Getting There & Away Buses to Kobarid (€3.
10, 30 minutes) depart up to six times a day.
There are also buses to Ljubljana (€13.
60, 3? hours) via Kobarid and Idrija, and to Nova Gorica (€7.
50, two hours).
From late June to August a service to Kranjska Gora (€6.
70, two hours) via the Vr?i? Pass departs four times daily, continuing to Ljubljana.
KOBARID 05 / POP 1250 / ELEV 234M The charming town of Kobarid is quainter than nearby Bovec, and despite being surrounded by mountain peaks, it feels more Mediterranean than Alpine, with an Italianate look (the border at Robi? is only 9km to the west).
On the surface not a whole lot has changed since Ernest Hemingway described Kobarid (then Caporetto) in A Farewell to Arms (1929) as ??a little white town with a campanile in a valley?ˉ, with ??a fine fountain in the square?ˉ.
The bell in the tower still rings on the hour, but the fountain has sadly disappeared.
Kobarid was a military settlement during Roman times, was hotly contested in the Middle Ages and was hit by a devastating earthquake in 1976, but the world will always remember Kobarid as the site of the decisive battle of 1917 in which the combined forces of the Central Powers defeated the Italian army.
Kobarid lies in a broad valley on the west bank of the So?a River.
The centre of town is Trg Svobode, dominated by the Gothic Church of the Assumption and that famous bell tower.
Buses stop in front of the Cinca Marinca bar-cafe on the eastern side at Trg Svobode 10.
THE SO?A (ISONZO) FRONT The breakthrough in the So?a Front (more commonly known to historians as the Isonzo Front) by the combined Austro-Hungarian and German forces near Caporetto (Kobarid) in October 1917 was one of history?ˉs greatest and bloodiest military campaigns fought on mountainous terrain.
By the time the fighting had stopped 17 days later, hundreds of thousands of soldiers lay dead or wounded, gassed or mutilated beyond recognition.
In May 1915, Italy declared war on the Central Powers and their allies and sent its army to the strategically important So?a Valley; from there, they hoped to move on the heart of Austria-Hungary.
However, the Austrians had fortified the lines with trenches and bunkers for 80km from the Adriatic to the mountain peaks overlooking the Upper So?a Valley.
While the Italian?ˉs First Offensive was initially successful ¨C including the occupation of Kobarid ¨C the attack stalled after the first month.
The Italians launched 11 offensives over the next 2? years, but the difficult mountain terrain meant a war of attrition between the two entrenched armies.
The fighting in the mountains and the limestone plateau to the south was horrific, but the territorial gains were minimal.
With the stalemate, much of the fighting shifted to Gorica (Gorizia) on the edge of the Karst.
On 24 October 1917 the stalemate was broken when the Austro-Hungarians and Germans moved hundreds of thousands of troops, arms and materiel (including seven German divisions) into the area between Bovec and Tolmin, with Kobarid as the first target.
The surprise 12th Offensive ¨C the Austrians?ˉ first ¨C began with heavy bombardment.
The ??miracle of Kobarid?ˉ routed the Italian army and pushed the fighting back deep into Italian territory.
The sketches of one Lieutenant Erwin Rommel (later the ??Desert Fox?ˉ commander of Germany?ˉs North African offensive in WWII) are invaluable for understanding the battle, but no account is more vivid than the description of the Italian retreat in Hemingway?ˉs A Farewell to Arms .
The novelist himself was wounded on the Gorica battlefield in the spring of 1917 while driving an Italian ambulance.
The 12th Offensive was the greatest breakthrough in WWI, and it employed some elements of what would later be called ??lightning war?ˉ (blitzkrieg) .
The Italians alone lost 500,000 soldiers, and another 300,000 were taken prisoner.
Casualties on the So?a Front for the entire 1915¨C17 period, including soldiers and civilians behind the lines, number almost a million.
Sights & Activities Kobarid Museum MUSEUM ( 389 00 00; www.kobariski-muzej.
si; Gregor?i?eva ulica 10; adult/child €5/2.
50; 9am-6pm Mon-Fri, 9am-7pm Sat & Sun summer, 10am-5pm Mon- Fri, 9am-6pm Sat & Sun winter) This museum is devoted almost entirely to the So?a Front and the ??war to end all wars?ˉ.
Themed rooms describe powerfully the 29 months of fighting.
The Krn Room looks at the initial assaults along the So?a River after Italy?ˉs entry into the war in May 1915.
The White Room describes the harsh conditions of war in the snowbound mountains.
The Hinterland Room describes life pauses in the fighting ¨C a sharp contrast to the Black Room?ˉs horrific photographs of the dead and dying.
Finally, the Battle of Kobarid Room details the final offensive launched by the Austrian and German forces that defeated the Italian army.
There are many photographs documenting the horrors of the front, military charts, diaries and maps, and two large relief displays showing the front lines and offensives through the Krn Mountains and the positions in the Upper So?a Valley.
Don?ˉt miss the 20-minute multimedia presentation.
GUIDED WALKS Walk of Peace in the So?a Region Foundation GUIDED WALK ( 389 01 67; www.potimiruvposocju.
si; Gregor?i??eva ulica 8) Based opposite the museum, this organisation runs a number of guided walks along sections of the 100km-long Walk of Peace (Pot Miru), a trail following the So?a (Isonzo) Front from Tolmin in the south to Log pod Mangrtom in the north.
Most guided walks are for groups, but there?ˉs a three-hour walk to the Kolovrat Outdoor Museum (Kolovrat Muzej na Prostem) costing €10 on Wednesday and Sunday mornings.
Kobarid Historical Walk WALKING TOUR (Kobari?ka Zgodovinska Pot) The TIC offers a free brochure describing the 5km- long Kobarid Historical Walk.
From the Kobarid Museum walk to the north side of Trg Svobode, a winding road lined with the Stations of the Cross, to the Italian Charnel House (Italijanska Kostnica), which contains the bones of more than 7000 Italian soldiers killed on the So?a Front.
It?ˉs topped with the 17th- century Parish Church of St Anthony .
From here, a path leads north (bearing left) for just over 1km to the ancient fortified hill of Tono?ov Grad , then descends through the remains of the Italian Defence Line (Italijanska Obrambna ?rta), past cleared trenches, gun emplacements and observation posts, before crossing the So?a over a 52m footbridge .
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