Sometimes we have to close our eyes to see things which are beyond our imagination. Dialogue in the Dark (Vienna) is exactly the place that will enable you to “see” unimaginable things. Well, OK, to be fair with you, don’t expect to see anything as you are going to be surrounded by pitch darkness.
Dialogue in the Dark (Dialog im Dunkeln) is the exhibition that will lead you through the world of the blind and give you the opportunity to experience their’s everyday life (or better to say challenge). It will force you to rely on your other senses as your eyesight will be basically useless.
My way to the understanding blindness
When I visited Vienna (Austria) in spring last year, my Viennese friend suggested going to this exhibition. It was the first time I have heard about something like this, so I accepted it without hesitation. As we arrived, we had to wait, together with other visitors, for our turn to enter the exhibition. Before stepping into the dark, the receptionist gave us each a white cane and explained to us how to use it.
Inside, Benny, visually impaired young man, who was our tour guide on this occasion welcomed us.* In the beginning, it was hard for my eyes to adjust to the blackness. I was wondering should I keep them open or not. Still, this discomfort was nothing in comparison to my subsequent inability to orient myself in space. Benny who turned out to be an entertaining and witty young man guided us through several rooms, each representing different everyday life situation. We crossed the bridge, walked around the woods, climbed on the boat, crossed the road…
I must admit that having a white cane wasn’t much of a use for me, so I relied on my hand by touching the walls or fence. Then again, when we had to cross the road at a crossing, orienting by touch was useless as well. Crossing the road was the most difficult part for me. Suddenly I found myself in an open space without any object that I could feel and figure out which way to go. I even got “hit” by a car. The tour ended up in the bar, also wrapped in complete darkness, where the blind bartender served drinks. I didn’t have any, so I am really wondering how did other visitors figure out how to pay?! Or how did bartender know what drink to serve and how much change to give back???
Dialogue in the Dark also offers special tours to their visitors. On Fridays and Saturdays, you can experience Dinner in the Dark: half an hour long tour that ends with a 4-course meal and 3 drinks, while on selected Saturdays, early birds can take a Breakfast Tour. If you visit any of these tours with your friends, you could have a competition “Who will eat a dinner without getting dirty?”.
During summer school holidays, they offer a tour Blind Traveler. In this tour, your guide will “take” you to a foreign country and show you everyday situations of its blind citizens. This one is definitely on my travel to-do list!
- You should make a reservation as only groups of maximum 8 people can go inside exhibition are
- Each tour lasts 60 minutes.
- The tour I attended was held in German. However, visitors can also ask for a tour in English or in one of the other nine offered languages.
- You will have to pay 18.00 euros for this unforgettable experience. Of course, students, seniors and families can count on getting a discount.
- You can find more information about prices, opening times and special offers on the official website.
Where to find them
Next time, when you visit Vienna, I would strongly recommend you to take an hour of your time and visit Dialogue in the Dark. I promise that this experience will change you. It will help you realise how many things in life, not just your eyesight, you are taking for granted.
Title image: © Dialog im Dunkeln, Vienna
*Dialogue in the Dark employs blind or visually impaired persons to work as tour guides.