We finally made it to Alcatraz!

Trip Start Aug 16, 2004
Trip End Aug 13, 2005

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Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, August 2, 2005

Arrived in San Francisco hostel around 10:30am on Sunday 31st July. We went straight out and walked up and down hills to Fisherman's Wharf to buy tickets for Alcatraz, but we were told it was sold out until Thursday. We were pretty disappointed as the last time we were in SF we had tickets but ended up missing the ferry. So, disheartened, we spent the rest of the day just wandering round SF shopping areas and Market Street. We ate at The Cheesecake Factory inside Macys which was very nice, but I still haven't managed to finish a main course there or even contemplate getting dessert. We had a quiet night in our hostel, and the other person in our room told us about Alcatraz standby tickets, so we decided to try again in the morning.

So first thing (around 10:30am) we were back at Fisherman's Wharf and got in line to buy standby tickets. You just go to the normal ticket booth and if they have any standby tickets you can buy them, and then you have to wait in a standby queue to get on the ferries. The good thing with these tickets is that if you decide you've had enough of waiting you can get a full refund. So we joined the standby queue just after the 10:45am ferry had left. There were about 15 people in front of us and they all got onto the next ferry at 11:15am. We had to wait for the next boat at 11:45am but that wasn't too bad considering it's supposed to be sold out. So finally we made it over to Alcatraz. It's best to get the audio tour ticket otherwise walking around the cellhouse isn't as good an experience, and you miss out on interesting information. On the ferry across you are supposed to be able to get a good view of the Golden Gate Bridge but as usual it was surrounded by mist.

We learnt a lot about the history of Alcatraz (they have a short film about it) and then all about life in the prison, and the escape attempts. After Alcatraz, we ate lunch and by then the mist was clearing so we were able to get a good photo of the Golden Gate Bridge after all.

We then walked to Lombard Street (the crooked street) and stood at the bottom and took pictures. Later in the afternoon we walked back to Market Street to have a mooch about then had another quiet night in.
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