Imagine living in a town settled in the shadows of mountains for half the year. In order to feel the sun on your face–which most of us take for granted–you must take a cable car up said mountains. That’s exactly what the town of Stavanger, Norway has done for six months out of the year…until now.
Thanks to giant mirrors placed above the town, the sun’s rays now reach into the valley, and on Wednesday residents crowded into the town square to catch a glimpse and feel some of the warmth on their skin.
“Before when it was a fine day, you would see that the sky was blue and you knew that the sun was shining. But you couldn’t quite see it. It was very frustrating,” said Karin Roe. “This feels warm. When there is no time to get to the top of the mountains on weekdays, it will be lovely to come out for an hour and feel this warmth on my face.”
The town normally endures freezing temperatures throughout much of the winter, but the winter sun warmed things up a bit to about 45 degrees on Wednesday. Residents wore sunglasses and sat on lounge chairs like those normally seen beside a pool, waving Norwegian flags to welcome the sunlight.
The town was built by Sam Eyde, who wanted to provide a place for workers at a nearby hydroelectric plant to live. The plant holds a place in history; during World War II, it was taken over by Hitler and his men in his attempts to procure an atomic bomb using “heavy water”, but the Norwegian resistance sabotaged their efforts by parachuting into the area and destroying the plant. The story was told in the 1965 film “The Heroes of Telemark”, which is being remade into a mini-series by Danny Boyle.