I went to Somogybabod in Hungary to witness the 30th edition of the largest off-road festival in Central Europe. This is what happened during taking on a few kilos of mud.
“By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Genesis 3: 20
It’s all about the struggle.
I mean it has to be about the struggle. I cannot interpret it in any other way. Why would anyone build an off-road truck, drag it across Europe, blow some of the family savings at a weekend where one could get the experience of being shit-faced, trying to get the 4x4 on a vertical wall, spending seemingly endlessly long minutes - if not hours - trying to get it off where it was stuck, sticking those mud-covered legs out of the engine bay to get the damned thing restarted in the torrential rain, then repeat all this the next day, then the following one to finally pack everything up and haul all that jazz back to the other side of the continent?
Because that’s what men do: trying to make things work in our lives. If it’s working just fine, we find other struggles to deal with. Or just eff up the existing one - the father of many divorces.
So yeah. It is difficult to find another get-together of men trying to do manly things that is so pointless in its manliness. I am probably one of those who define themselves less than manly, whose testosterone-balancing acts are exhausted in successfully drilling a hole in the wall to hang up a guitar or something.
That said, I was somewhat curious what this annual off-road thing was all about that kept returning for the 30th time in my neighborhood - less than 25 miles from where I live - yet I never got to experience it.
A bit of context then, just for kicks.
Somogybabod (pronounced closer to ‘shomodbabod’ - it’s a bit difficult to explain non-existent phonemes to the English language) is situated in the North-East of Somogy county, in South-West Hungary. This used to be a land of some real Game of Thrones-like of stuff over a thousand years ago, formerly owned by a Khal Drogo-kind of figure, plotting a charge for the throne in the name of ancient religion against the favoured, state-founding future Hungarian king. His failure meant Hungary was born and Scotland gained a saint (now there’s a cliffhanger for you).
By terrain it is very much like Southern England - as former Jalopnik-writer Péter Orosz explained it to me while discovering the secret race track of Budapest - and after having lived in the South-West of England, I can testify to that. I would even go so far that it has a hint of Wales as well.