I’ve recently returned from a lovely trip to San Fran! It was my second visit, and this time four of us hired a car and drove into the city. Our main attraction for the day was possibly one of the most infamous prisons in the world – Alcatraz!
One of the girls had very kindly organised the whole thing, booking the hire car and the tickets for Alcatraz online, so all we needed to do was show up on time! There’s a ferry leaving every half hour, and once we boarded it was a quick ride across the water to the island.
Once you arrive on the island you get a brief explanation on the history of the prison, and then you’re free to climb up to the main building.
Inside you’re given a pair of headphones and an audio guide, which is narrated by former correctional officers and prisoners. It’s done really well, and guides you through the prison telling you exactly where to go and what that particular area was.
We also saw the yard, where the prisoners got to spend a few hours on Saturdays and Sundays.
Pictured above are the solitary cells. These are pitch black inside; even with the door open they were still very dark and quite scary to stand inside as the prisoners narrated over the headphones! They were kept inside for 23 hours at a time in complete darkness! I think I would go crazy sat all alone in a black room!
We were soon led outside to where some of the correctional officers had actually lived with their families, saving them the boat journey to and from the island every day.
The view over San Francisco was beautiful, and although it was a cloudy day we could still see the Golden Gate Bridge very clearly!
Back in the prison, we were led to the kitchen.
Seem like they had more breakfast choices than some of our crew hotels! 😉
The audio tour ended here, however we headed upstairs into what was formerly the prison hospital. I found this to be one of the creepier areas of Alcatraz, especially seeing the rooms where the mentally ill prisoners were held!
The tour was really well done and so descriptive. I’d highly recommend it and I’m so glad I went!
After catching the ferry back to the mainland, we headed down towards Pier 39, as one of the guys hadn’t been to San Fran before.
We decided it was time for lunch, and although it was probably the most touristy and expensive place we could have picked, chose a lovely fish restaurant overlooking the water.
After a delicious lunch we strolled along the pier towards the end where we had spotted some sea lions from the restaurant!
After wandering back along the pier, we drove into the city. The 4 of us split up to do some Christmas shopping, and I managed to get a few presents! Sarah (the one who organised everything) had a friend she hadn’t seen in quite a few years living in San Fran, and somehow we happened to bump into them, so headed to a nice bar for a drink before the drive back to the hotel.
We may or may not have made a very naughty stop at In-N-Out for some chips before we got back! 😉 (When in California….)
The perfect ending to a great day in San Francisco!