In the continuing absence of properly functioning Internet (Jan has contacted the service provider… so now we wait), here is a post that doesn’t require me to upload any photos…
While checking the TripAdvisor app for things to do in Vienna, we came across something called Dialog im Dunkeln, which sounded really interesting. The various reviews warned us that we would need to sign up, so we headed over there to do so on Monday and were lucky enough to find that some people had cancelled for the following day so there was room for us.
The concept of Dialog im Dunkeln (Dialogue in the Dark) is pretty simple. An underground room (cellar) has been transformed into a landscape with various obstacles that one might find in the world outside… a bridge over a little stream, a narrow gorge, a shop with step leading down to it. The only catch is that the room is kept in complete darkness… and I really mean complete darkness (well, there was one point where you could see light coming through a door frame, but it didn’t help much). Before entering the room, you’re given a white stick (the type for blind people) and shown how to use it, then sent down a corridor with various twists in turns that gradually gets darker and darker. In the room, a guide is waiting for you… somebody who is a) blind and b) familiar with the landscape you’ve been introduced to you. The aim is to navigate the various obstacles in the room as a blind person would. The guide is there to tell you which way to go and, if necessary, physically lead you to the right path. At the end there is a bar, also kept in complete darkness, where you can buy drinks and ask the guide any question you like. And you really can ask anything… personal questions are allowed!
The experience of being in complete darkness is extremely disorienting! Suddenly having to rely on other senses is far from easy, but I actually managed to do surprisingly well in there! The place is set up very well, with an area that feels just like grass (I assume they don’t have real grass in there?), a rocky surface with water running down out for the gorge, a “road” (not a real one obviously, but there are sound effects and you’re supposed to wait for the signal to cross) and even a boat, which moves pretty realistically! This is a really interesting experience and I would highly recommend it if you ever find yourself in Vienna. Tours are available in German or English, so don’t let language put you off!
Alos, I’ve just read that the original Dialog im Dunkeln is in Hamburg, Germany. I’ve no idea whether that one’s any good, but if you’re in the area I’m sure it would be worth a try.