Alcatraz, Hyde Pier, Lombard Street.

Trip Start Apr 11, 2009
Trip End Apr 30, 2009

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Flag of United States  , California
Monday, April 13, 2009

Booked a cruise out to Alcatraz. Excellent trip, Well recommended. Nice cruise out to "The Rock" and then spent a couple of hours looking round. The Audio tour of the cell block was superb. Even I could follow the instructions! and they were in American. Really informative. Only 15 mins from San Fran and the complete contrast to a vibrant city. Must have been a grim place in it's hey day.

Started off as a military fort and prison in the 1800's. Was the first lighthouse in on the West Coast from 1854.

Became the Notorious Alcatraz federal Penitenary from August 1934 and was used for 29 years until March 1963. There were no executons on the actual island. it was a prison for male prisoners who were considered incorrible, trouble makers and escape risks in other prisons. Scarface Capone, Robert Stroud "the birdman of alcatraz" Machine Gun Kelly and Clint Eastwood (It's true I saw the movie!) have all been in Alcatraz.

There were 14 different Escape attempts. Of the 36 guys that gave it a go, 7 were shot dead, one found drowned, 5 unaccounted for to this day (presumed drowned or maybe they made it to South America on that raft made from a rain coat!) and 23 captured alive.

It was eventually closed down because was too expensive to run.

from 1969 to 1971 a group of Native American activists occupied it to bring attenton to their land claims and plight on reservations. It was returned/ reclaimed to/by gun toting federal agents although it did start the dialogue between govt and the Native Americans and then was made into a National Park in 1972.

Ahter the tour explored the Hyde Street Pier where there are some amazing historic ships moored, all shapes and sizes in various states of repair.

The went and found Lombard Street which is known as the crookedest Steet in the world. It has 8 switchback turns in one block and is very very steep, a 40 degree slope. Aside from being a nightmare to get into your garage there are so many tourists walking up and down and snapping pictures it would be a poo bum to live on.

Headed home and hit the shopping centre because wanted to ride on the escalator. No I haven't reverted to my childhood. It is apparently the only spiral escalator in the States. Yep been there done that !

Looking forward to tomorrow, off to do a wine tour and see the redwoods.
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