Escape from Alcatraz

Trip Start Aug 18, 2010
Trip End Oct 10, 2010

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Flag of United States  , California
Saturday, August 21, 2010

Its 11:35pm, just got back to the hotel after a huge day.... tomorrow we leave this beautiful city.... I understand leaving your heart in San Francisco now. The people are just so nice and the food is great, easy to get around (apart from the hills...) and most of the population are tourists so everyone is in a good mood too.

We went to the Farmers Market at the Ferry building today... stacks of stalls selling food... fruit, pasta, cheese, bread... yum. We had chicken straight off the rotisserie, lots of samples of fruit and cheese, listened to funky buskers.... was such a nice atmosphere. One of the stall holders travelled 450 miles each week for the market!

We then headed to the 'Painted Ladies' of Alamo Square, which were cool to see... hopefully the photos work. Our plan then was to go to Golden Gate Park (nowhere near the bridge) to see the lakes and Tea Garden etc. This park is bigger than Central Park! We navigated the buses and found our way.... and as we got off the bus Tom said 'Oh look we can see the tip of the Golden Gate Bridge'..... at that moment we looked at each other in excitement as the entire bridge has been fogged in since we arrived. We scrapped plans to go to the park, found a taxi and made a beeline for the bridge. What an incredible sight. Blue sky, no fog, gorgeous bridge and a gazillion people cycling and walking over it. We took lots of photos and walked out to the centre of the bridge. We wanted to go the whole way across but we had to find a way back to the hotel for the Alcatraz tour.... and from the other side it would have been real hard to get a cab unless we walked all the way into Sausalito (no time). So we went back, found another cab and then grabbed our warm clothes for Alcatraz and headed for the pier. We miscalculated the walk and were running late, so we hailed another cab to take us the rest of the way. Weird but true.... we got the same cab driver who took us back to the hotel!! Lucky we tipped him the first time!!!

Alcatraz was incredible and the night tour was spooky and so interesting!!! We got the boat across the bay, and then walked to the top of the Rock. The audio guide was fabulous, proabably close the best Ive heard. Heard from ex inmates and guards and kids who grew up on the Rock (if their dad was a guard), Probably the saddest but was when an inmate spoke of being on Alcatraz for 15 years with no letters, no visits... and then being thrust back into civilsation in San Francisco and he said he was 'scared to death' as the new world was moving so fast, and he didnt know how to handle things. Saw the shower room (hmmm not so private), tiny little cells, solitary confinement, and fabulous views of the city at night too. Heard daring escape stories (including a guy who dressed as a corporal from clothes he stole in the laundry room over several years, then got on a ship that went straight to an army base instead of San Francisco....) Was an amazing experience to walk the walk that Al Capone would have taken when he arrived.

Got back to the city at around 10 and staggered back to Little Italy and had pasta at Tony's, on the recommendation of a guy on the Segway tour. Was good. Nice filling ravioli pasta. Ahhhhhh :-)

Tomorrow we head to Yosemite country and bed and breakfast in Groveland. May or may not have Internet access so there may not be posts for a few days.

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