Clever people, the Germans. Only the Germans, for instance, would think to make potato soup and then serve it with a large sausage floating in it - perfect proof that the simple ideas are always the best.

As you might have guessed, we have just come back from a Christmas shopping-inspired break in Germany, specifically the city of Hamburg, which is lovely at this time of year.

But there are even more impressive attractions in Hamburg than sausage-laden soup, and one that my wife and I are still reeling from is called Dialog Im Dunkeln, which we reckon somebody should open a British version of.

If they do, they will presumably use the English translation, which is Dialogue in the Dark.

Like sausages in the soup, the basic idea could hardly be simpler.

The people who set it up simply created an environment - a few rooms, a street scene, a mock harbour and more - and then turned out all the lights.

And they give you a white stick and get a blind person to lead you through it.

The idea, as you have probably guessed, is to show you what life is like for a totally blind person, since the rooms are pitch black, with not a single spark of light for punters to latch on to.

You probably think you can imagine how disorientating this is, but imagining is nothing compared with doing, and the experience comes with a lot of other sensations, including fear, awe, embarrassment and enlightenment.

Because our blind guide is naturally accustomed to the environment, he was able to skilfully navigate a group of us through his world, speaking German to six, and English to two.

His sense of what was what and where was where was uncanny, to say the least.

For example, he somehow realised, early on, that my wife was clinging to me as we stumbled through the alien landscape, so made a point of separating us, but later found her and me, and reunited us in time for the last experience, which was visiting a bar, still in the dark.

Here he served the drinks, explaining how he knew how much was in each glass, and when we had all finished, he amazed us by somehow knowing where all the empty glasses were.

It was here that he revealed he had lost his sight to a tumour at the age of ten.

By now we were already thinking how rich the experience had been, and how it had given us an astonishingly lucid insight into someone else’s world.

It taught us a lot of things, obviously including how humbling it can be when you make the effort to put yourself in someone else’s place, but also how it feels to be dependent on someone who is the master of his or her environment.

Ironically, you could say being blind for a couple of hours was the ultimate eye-opener.

But the biggest impact was left until the end.

When the time came for us to return to our visual world, we stood in a holding room, where the tiny chinks of light around the door felt infinitely comforting, and I am sure we were all looking forward to seeing what our fantastic blind guide looked like.

But just before the door back into our world opened, he rapidly thanked us, said goodbye, and slipped through a back door.

“Wait, wait,” I called after him. “Don’t we get to see what you look like?”

“Unfortunately, no,” he said. “After all, I won’t get to see you.”

And he was gone.

And our view of the world was changed forever.