Day 20: The Rock

Digital Don Route 66 0 Comments

Today we visited the famous state penitentiary, Alcatraz.

We got up fairly early as we needed to be at Pier 33 by 9:30 and walked down Lombard Street to the IHOP. I can’t remember what we had but im sure it was probably eggs. After breakfast we jumped in the car and drove the short 10 min drive down to the pier. I had prebooked a parking spot in a lot nearby, partly to save a couple of bucks and partly so we were near to the departure pier. We arrived right on time and joined the queue to board the ferry.

The tour we had booked on acutally included a tour of Angel Island which is the largest of the islands in San Francisco bay. The ferry first did a loop round Alcatraz and due to the overcast weather and fog, it looked really moody and grim. The ferry soon arrived at the dock at Angel Island and by this time we were really cold despite putting on trousers and hoodies and I actually put on a second hoodie. The Angel Island tour included an hour long tram tour of the island and an audio track played while the tram drove round explaining the history, flora and fauna of the island. We discovered that it was owned by the military during the war against Mexico and in the civil war and was then used as for immigration and quarentine before it became a state park. It was a really interesting tour.

After the tour we had some time on the island before we departed so we went to the cafe and bought some pulled pork sandwiches and coffee which were not that great and left us both with dodgy guts. The ferry returned and we embarked and set off for Alcatraz. Once we arrived on the island we watched an introduction video which explained how the island was formed and its history both as a prison and before. We headed up the hill and joined a queue to start the cell house audio tour. The audio tour was excellent, the narrator guides you round the attraction showing all the important aspects and stories about escape attempts and life on the rock. I really enjoyed it. After the tour we headed back down to the dock and the ferry took us back to the bay.

Once we returned to the car I was dismayed to find a $74 parking citation for non payment. So much for trying to save a few dollars.

We decided to take a trip in the car and drive over the Golden Gate Bridge, I wanted to cycle it originally but it had been too chilly and a lack of time meant it would be more sensible to drive. Once across the bridge we drove around Sausalito, a wealthy area across the bay, for a bit then drove back across the bridge.

For dinner we went to a pizza place a few blocks from the hotel and got take out. The pizza was expensive and average. We stayed up late watching the olympics because we knew we didnt have much on the following day as we leave the US and fly home.

Total Mileage: 3694 miles

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