I’ve written about Budapest. All very nice, some readers said, but what about Borsod?
For Hungarians, Borsod - a poorer region in northeastern Hungary - is what Mexiko is to most Americans, but without the charm of being exotic, or having good weather, or a seaside, or at least being a completely different country. When Hungarians see a Hollywood movie set in Mexico – say, „Desperado” -, where disreputable-looking figures behave very badly in disreputable-looking places, they think: Oh! Just like in Borsod!
Those who don’t live there say: You can take a girl out of Borsod, but you can’t take Borsod out of the girl”. Meaning that their way of thinking is so different, and so resilient, that it will never fade away.
Thank God. I love the Borsod spirit.
In fact, to a large degree, Budapest consists of people from Borsod who moved to the capital. You can recognize them by their friendly tone, their directness, their subversive humor and their heartfelt laughter when something is funny. If you’re going to party, party with Borsodians. You’ll have the best of times.
People in (or from) Borsod tend to fall on their feet and survive any hardship. The place is full of young talent. I know, because I teach some of them. Just the other day I interviewed students and was impressed by how much they knew, and how hard they work.
While young Budapesters may study seemingly „useless” things like sociology or the history of aesthetics, no-nonsense Borsodians are more interested in useful knowledge. One of them told me she studies mechatronics. I didn’t even know what that is.
Some of Hungary’s most combative politicians come from Borsod: Justice minister Judit Varga, Government spokesman Zoltán Kovács. Say what you will, but they work hard, take political punches without flinching, and know how to respond. Hungary’s astonishing political resilience – being hit over the head year after year in the kickbox arena of international politics, yet never falling - has a lot to do with the fact that a good part of the country’s political elite is from places like Borsod: From the countryside, were people don’t like nonsense or things that don’t work, and are never impressed by clever talk.
Some Budapesters think of Borsod as a wasteland of the spirit. Not true: Miskolc, the regional capital, offers a rich cultural life. Relative to it’s smaller GDP and population, it’s cultural scene compares favorably with the much richer and bigger Budapest. It’s something the citizens of that town are particularly proud of.
Borsod has some of Hungary’s most beautiful landscapes – the wooded Bükk mountains, for instance. Go visit the national park for an unforgettable experience.