Escaped from Alcatraz

Trip Start Nov 29, 2011
Trip End Mar 01, 2012

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Flag of United States  , California
Friday, February 3, 2012


What a cool start to the day, tuned into Steve Wright on radio 2 via the internet for a bit of home comfort. Decided that it was worth a text to send in a dedication and guess what, at the end of the very next song he started giving some factoids about Alacatraz (where we are going today) followed by our dedication to the girls and grandkids. Never had anything read out on national radio before. We were so made up – little things!!

We hadn't had chance to let anyone know but I know at least a few of you heard it. We let the girls know later and had a text back from laura saying "Mum, do you think I would listen to radio 2" Well you never know Laura you just might get a mention!

If you want to hear it, goto BBC Iplayer and listen again, it was about 4.20pm UK time so near the end of his show. I am trying to extract it and put it on here or Facebook too but not sure if it will work yet.

We made our way towards the tram to get down to Fishermans Wharf, unfortunately there were some clothes shops on the way, I did need some long trousers anyway both for here and probably New York, so in we went. Why do women always need a basket in clothes shops when you’re only going in for one thing? Well I do know, because we ended up having to put the bundle of clothes behind the counter and pick them up later as they were too much to carry.

As we came out of the store there was a tram just pulling up going in the right direction plus they are only $2 as opposed to the cable car at $6 so we made our way on board.

Down at Pier 33 we got on to the boat to take us over to Alcatraz, it’s only 1.5 miles so we were there in no time. It looks like you could swim it but the currents are very strong and the water temperature is deceptively cold. The climb up from the shoreline to the main building is equivalent to a 13 storey building. They say no one ever survived an escape attempt from the prison although a few were never seen again.

The visit included an audio tour of the prison which was very informative and was set against the background noises of cell doors slamming shut and keys being turned in the lock. It was narrated by some of the former inmates and officers which made it feel very real.

Some of the cells were had ensuite facilities, well not to Holiday Inn standards really. Very basic and small concrete rooms with just enough room for a bed and a toilet or a sink they didn’t seem to have both. You were able to go into a few of the cells including a few on the solitary confinement block which they called the hole. This was just a square room with no light at all. I did venture in but that door wasn’t shutting today. Claire just took the photo for that one!!

There were some fantastic views across the water back at San Fransisco and the Golden Gate bridge. This though was extra punishment for the prisoners. They could see freedom just a mile and a half away and they could hear the sounds from the city when the wind was in the right direction just teasing them with what they had lost.

It was interesting to see the film locations used in the making of “ The Rock”, but it does make you realise the directors licence when making these films, it takes the military planes ages to cross the bridge and reach Alcatraz in the film and yet it should take less than a few seconds to cross a mile of water?

As the sun started to go down the temperature started to drop and we sure weren’t going to be left on that island. As we came out of the main building there was a ferry ready to head back so made our own escape from Alcatraz.

We had to go back then for the clothes we had put aside, new suitcase required tomorrow....

We are starting to learn our lesson with American portion control, just ordering starters is usually enough for a main meal here. The portions don’t look too big but even I struggle. The starter I had tonight was ten chicken skewers, peanut dip with a good sized helping of leaves with extra chips. No need for main course.
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Gem on

How exciting and interesting!!!! Think its brill your going to all these famous places! Very Jel!!!! xxx

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