As I began the steep climb, I glanced to the right where a gate was open, revealing a side view of a person-sized Lady Liberty. I stopped to take a closer look when a man came up the path behind me and paused at the open gate. When I ascertained that he lived there, I asked how he came to possess his own Statue of Liberty. He found it in the alley in DC, an apparent remodeling casualty of a New-York themed bar. It peeks over his backyard fence, facing west as if welcoming San Francisco across the bay, high above the drivers emerging from the tunnel. It even lights up. He generously allowed me to take a closer photo.
I continued to climb the quiet walkway between the houses, crossing Mariposa Street up to the residential end of Shattuck Avenue, where I saw some beautiful, one-of-a-kind houses.
After turning off Shattuck to Amador, I came across a most unusual front yard that was home to a miniature village of sorts, with a castle on one end and several more modest homes among the small succulents. Unfortunately my photos were rather blurry, but I couldn’t resist including a close-up of the castle that was less than a foot tall, though it sat atop some large rocks that gave it a more majestic quality. I love that I could happen upon such a quirky landscape on my walk. How Berkeley.
Along the way I saw discarded Christmas trees waiting to be picked up, glimpsed a banner that offered a happy Hanukkah, and saw big colorful numerals proclaiming the new year.
It was a walk like no other, and I know that I have many adventures in store for me as I make my way through and over Berkeley’s 136 paths.