Submitted by Paula Guy on Wed, 08/08/2012 - 16:10
The Isalnd Of Alcatraz
Golden Gate Bridge, City Hall and Alcatraz were on the menu yesterday. We visited Golden Gate Bridge and City Hall in the morning before taking a ferry across to Alcatraz. Alcatraz is a small, isolated island off the coast of San Francisco, probably most famous as being the former federal prison for notorious criminals such as Al Capone and Robert 'the birdman' Stroud. Between the years of 1933 and 1963 it was used as a maximum security prison, but today it is open to tourists to look around. You can get an audio guide tour for more information as you walk around, which we did and I have to say that the audio was really good, some of it being narrated by former guards and inmates. The sound affects were brilliant and with the footsteps, clanks of the prison cell doors and chants from inmates, it was easy to become immersed in the commentary. In fact, so immersed was I in it that I nearly jumped out of my skin when I was listening to gun shots go off during some narrative about an escape attempt and a random tourist accidentally trod on the back of my foot!!! We are here when it's warm and I tried to imagine what life would have been like out here in winter during those days, I imagine it would have been a bleak, harsh and unforgiving place. Back on the mainland we went to a Moroccan restaurant for dinner, which turned out to be absolutely mouthwatering.
Submitted by Paula Guy on Wed, 08/08/2012 - 15:12
San Francisco has been a bit of a pleasant surprise to me, it's well recorded that I'm not a city person and this stop was, once again, a means of breaking up the flying time towards England. I expected it to be a bit like New York, but it's nowhere near as busy, built up or claustrophobic and has far more character for me.
Yesterday we ended up arriving here at night, so we pretty much just ordered a pizza from a nearby takeaway and went to bed. Today we got a map of the city and started out in the direction of Chinatown. After walking around for a while we planted ourselves at a table in a restaurant and had a delicious Chinese lunch before continuing our walk along into the Italian part of San Francisco. After some time sitting outside a café drinking latte and watching the world go by we made our way down to Fisherman’s Wharf where we spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening watching the sea lions that gather at Pier 39, taking a look round USS Pampanito and generally wandering around the wharf.