If you find yourself in another country, preparing to take a local tour, often you will discover that different languages are assigned different time slots.
For example, if you are touring a weaponry museum, the French language tour may be at 11am, the Spanish Language at 12pm, and the English tour at 1pm.
Why is this? Because that’s when the translator tour guide for that particular language shows up.
Sometimes you find guides who are willing to take people of all languages on their tour, either because they speak many different ones, or they are just more flexible.
But if you show up for the tour at 11am, and your language-oriented tour isn’t until 3pm, you have a few choices.
You could opt to go on the tour anyway, and run the risk of not understanding anything specific about what you are seeing.
You could just hang around and wait for the right translator to show up (maybe there’s something else you could go see and then return later?).
Or you could just not go on the tour and miss out on that one.
We’ve done all three, but it’s a tough choice. We usually opt to just give up if the tour is particularly detailed and we know we won’t understand a darn thing.
Or, I know some rusty Spanish, so we can take a Spanish or Italian tour, and I will get the general gist of the talking.
But these were not available options when we faced our tour of an ice cave in Germany.
First, I should state that I really love taking cave tours.
I have seen the big ones (Carlsbad Caverns and Mammoth Caves) and the pretty ones (Oregon Caves and Kings Canyon Caves) and really unusual ones (most of the Texas Caves and Hermanshole, in Germany).
But I had never toured, nor even heard of, ice caves! What a great opportunity!
So when we found one by accident in Germany, we knew we had to go.
But we were only there for a short time, and the English tour of the day had gone first thing that morning.
Other languages were not available for the rest of the day, so that meant German…or nothing.
This was not a casual situation. Though we have traveled to Germany a few times, we really know next to nothing in that language.
But, Ice Caves!!
Also, all the lighting was done using lit strips of magnesium, instead of electric or battery lights.
We had to go.
And in this instance, I am 100% sure we made the right choice.
True, we had no idea what the nice tour guide was saying, but when his voice rose in enthusiasm and he enthusiastically pointed at one form after another, we generally figured out when we were looking at something special.
The ice caves were absolutely spectacular and gorgeous beyond mere words…translated, or otherwise.
I would not have missed the experience for anything.