How do you say “deja vu” in Spanish?

España street art, Madrid, Spain
España street art | Photo by Lauren Girardin

After living in San Francisco for ten years, whenever Todd and I spend a weekend afternoon walking around the Mission District – our beloved home ‘hood – we always run into someone we know, every single time. It’s a moment that makes us feel like we belong to a place, which is one of the things we miss most about our West Coast home, two months into our around-the-world trip. We know very few people in the places on our route.

We’re in Madrid especially to meet up with a few Bay Area friends – who we’ll refer to as the Baron and Baroness, to protect the “innocent.” Little do Todd and I know the surprise that awaits us in the meantime.

Deja vu, Dutch style, Madrid, Spain
Deja vu, Dutch style, Madrid, Spain | Photo by Lauren Girardin

We reach Madrid after an overnight bus out of Lisbon, Portugal – a ride throughout which the bus shuddered to a stop every hour, as the driver turned on the lights and made loud announcements as we picked up passengers, crossed passport patrol, or were instructed to take our 3 a.m. meal break. With joints creaking and minds disjointed, Todd and I finally arrive in Madrid with a couple of days to kill before the Baron and Baroness arrive.

Todd and I make a pit stop at the Prado museum, not to go in, but to check on what we’ve heard is an oft-changing schedule. We’re standing just to the side of the incredibly short ticket line, studying up on hours and costs when we hear a familiar voice behind us say “Well, hello again! Remember us?”

We turn to see the Danes. Yes, the Danes, who helped save us from madness on the seven hour line for the Alhambra in Seville over a week and a half and a thousand miles ago. Yes, the Danes, who are currently the only people we know in Spain.

And it’s at this moment that Spain feels like home.