It has been about twelve years since I last visited San Francisco and I’d forgotten just how steep the roads are here – it’s come as a bit of a shock to my calves! I know what you are thinking – “he’s exaggerating. I bet it’s not that steep.” It is. Unfortunately the pictures just don’t do it justice.
Fortunately our first appointment was all downhill as we made our way to pier 33 to get a boat to take us the one and a quarter miles to Alcatraz island, home to the infamous prison. Access to the site is free which is very laudable until you realise that the reason nobody escaped was because of dangerous waters so you have to take the boat which isn’t free! There’s no such thing as a free trip round a disused prison it seems.
We are not normally guided tour type people but in this instance we made use of the self guided audio tour provided and it really was excellent. Narrated by ex-guards and inmates you really did get a sense of what it was like to be there. I was surprised to learn that it was a prison for only a relatively short period (29 years) but in that time it forged itself a formidable reputation.
A year before it was closed three prisoners escaped their cells but nobody knows if they actually made it off the island and they remain officially absconders. We, however, made it safely off having thoroughly enjoyed our time there.
We spent the rest of the day ticking off the list of things that one must do when in San Francisco including riding the cable car, Coit Tower and the zig-zag road.
These sites and the eclectic mix of buildings make San Francisco one of my favourite cities. Tomorrow is our last day here and apparently there is a bridge that’s worth seeing…