Saturday, October 11, 2008



The days in San Francisco have been chock full of activites. There has not been one moment that we have not stopped experiencing new adventures.

San Francisco is home the most notorious high security prison in history. Located on an island in the middle of the cold, rough waters of the San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz was home to the most vicious criminals of the 20th century.

To get to Alcatraz, you must take a ferry from Pier 33 in Fisherman's Wharf (I will tell you more about Fisherman's Wharf next time), and stand in a very long line for a very long time. If you are going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair... wait... If you are going to San Francisco, and will be visiting Alcatraz, buy your tickets online and fast track the waiting!

There are some excellent views of the skyline and the famous Golden Gate Bridge and it's lesser known cousin Bay Bridge. There is definitely some favourtism going on as the Golden Gate Bridge is painted a stunning red. What colour is the Bay Bridge? Grey.

What is that all about? If they were siblings the Bay Bridge would be plotting the Golden Gate Bridge's death a la The Bodyguard.

Anyway, so we get off the ferry, walk up a large and very steep hill and enter the abandoned prison for the audio tour.

The audio tour is narrarated by former inmates and the daughter of one of the Wardens. The inmates tell the story about what it was like to be interned on Alcatraz, whilst the warden's daughter spoke of what it was like to live on Alcatraz Island but not be imprisoned.

In the meantime the host of the audio tour guides you firsthand on the actual locations of the several attempted escapes. The final attempted escape was recounted in the 1979 film Escape from Alcatraz. Watch the film, it will save me telling the story all over again.

The audio tour was fantastic, perfectly timed to your pace, not too long and had some interesting stories. The problem was the crowds. The ferries bring over 5,000 people a day! I think about 4,000 of them began the tour at the same time as us.

This afternoon The Son ate a giant pretzel, The Man had his first taste of a California zinfandel and I remembered all about free refills of iced tea.

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