The scene was like one from Chaucer's winter tavern. We could have come back in April, when the land was thawing out, and found the same group sitting on the same stools. It reminded me of bears settling in for hibernation - eyes closing, heartbeats slowing, mouths slackening, the world growing quite dark around the edges. This is what living on a winter island must be like.
The leaves were being blown out of the streets, leaving bare cobblestones behind. Faaborg is an old place, where once a huge fishing fleet docked. The houses are pretty and close together, painted in bright, earthy russet and yellow. On our last night, we began wondering when the weather was going to turn - the season had already tilted into winter, a storm felt inevitable. Everyone had shut themselves up indoors.
Later, in the early dark of a late October night, we found ourselves surrounded by a throng of people at another pub. There was no lethargy - the cold and season had invigorated the crowd, and they drew together for comfort. There was a lot of beer to drink and a quiz game to listen to - a man stood up to call out questions and we all scribbled on sheets of paper. He spoke in English, which was surprising, but nobody had a hard time and it was lucky for us.