When you see someone who has lost their sight, you feel a little sorry for them and try to imagine what it would be to not see. It is really hard to put yourself in their shoes and experience the way they see the world, unless you have the knowledge of a little restaurant that could change the way you see.
Located in Zurich, Switzerland the ‘Blindekuh’ lets you live a few hours the way the blind spend their whole life. A majority of the staff are blind and give you an in depth experience on their day to day life. In order for the restaurant to give you the blind experience, you get taken to a room which is pitch black. No phones, or anything that lights up is allowed in the room and you can’t see anything – even if you are holding you hand a cm away from your face. This restaurant is very unique and the first of its kind, starting 15 years ago. Now days there are a few found around the world, all being inspired by the one restaurant in Zurich.
Led out of the light and into the darkness, we went holding hands in a line behind our waitress Anya. Anya was blind and had unbelievable skills with all of her other senses. She helped us all make sure we sat on the chair ( and not miss it and end up on the floor) and all our eyes started to adjust to the dark. Sitting in total blackness is such a weird feeling, everywhere you looked all you could see was just utter blackness. The sensation truly messes with your senses, at first your head feels like it is going to explode – as your brain tries to adjust to this new information, although after a while tranquility sets in. I started by feeling around me and getting a grip on where everything was like my cup and cutlery. Our meal we had ordered earlier turned up and we began to eat in the dark. I ate alot slower than usual and a little sloppier than usual as well, after all no one could see the way you were handling your food. It was very hard to put the salad on your fork and get it into your mouth and not your nose. As well as placing you cup back down on the table and not in your soup. Although after a few mouth fulls, it became a lot easier. It proved how much our sight influences the way we taste our food. A few of us took 10 minutes to decide on what something we ate was – it turned out to be an egg. Even though it was a salad it tasted so foreign and unusual to eat.
At first the darkness was very hard on your eyes and your brain. Everything was confusing and it all felt very intense. Although by the end of the meal your eyes and brain had already started to adjust to it and it turned out to be extremely relaxing. Once the meal was finished we were led out by Anya and had to let our eyes get used to the light again. It gradually got lighter, although as we got out into full light I continually kept blinking.. It took around 5 minutes for my eyes to get used to the light again, just like it had with the dark.
This way of eating is such a wonderful idea and really opens up your mind to the world of the blind. In a few short hours you already have a higher respect for the blind but also had one of the most interesting dinners. Imagine if you went on a date there – you would have a real blind date, no judging the book by its cover at all.