A bizarre world of fantastical figures, wild gardens, concrete debris and graffitied breeze blocks. This is the Albany Bulb.
An off-the-beaten-track discovery made courtesy of my AirBnB host and new friend Edrie, these amazing sculptures are situated on a spit of land jutting out into the San Francisco Bay Area.
Until 1982 the Bulb was was a landfill site; after that it was populated by the homeless as well as dog-walkers and urban artists who created, and continue to create, sculptures and murals using scrap metal and wood, blocks of concrete and diverse found materials.
Walkers interact with the statues, giving them pampas grass to hold and contemplate, playing hopscotch on brightly painted stepping stones, or walking the overgrown labyrinth.
After photographing and exploring a few of the pathways, I sat next to the couple on the concrete bench and watched pelicans fishing in the bay as the sun moved slowly across the sky.
San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland were a few miles distant and a world away.