Life in the dark

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My little sister Dania is visiting Hamburg this weekend, which gave me the opportunity to play tourist in my own city. And this afternoon, we had one of the experiences I've been wanting to do for months: Dialog im Dunkeln!

90 minutes in pitch darkness. A blind guide who leads you through various experiences. Crossing a street. Walking through a park. Getting on a boat. Shopping at the market. Sounds, smells, touch. Relying on your other senses and being both amazed and grateful for the gift of sight that saves your life about a hundred times a day.

I'd recommend it to anyone passing through Hamburg (a city worth visiting for about a million other reasons). At the end of our tour, we had a chance to ask our guide some questions about what it's like to live as a blind person. Elsa told us how she'd lost her sight at age 35 from glaucoma. But she spoke with a sense of pride about how she can still do everything we do, only a little bit more slowly.

The most touching thing she said was, "Sometimes I need a little help, crossing the street or getting on the right bus. But that's why I love living in Hamburg. There's 1.8 million people here who I can ask for help."

What a way to look at it.