An afternoon in Alcatraz

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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

P.s. Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @rachelwwilson for more regular updates on what’s going on in my life!


  1. Elly
    December 17, 2014 / 4:38 pm

    Hey Rachel, what is the situation with crew parking? Do you get a free parking spot with your accomodation? And most importantly, is it indoors or outside, cuz all the heat can damage the car. Thanks!

    • December 21, 2014 / 5:33 pm

      I actually have no idea, as I don’t drive in Dubai. I’ll have to ask security 🙂

      • Elly
        December 21, 2014 / 9:34 pm

        You are so kind. Thank you honey!

  2. anon
    December 17, 2014 / 8:38 am

    Hi rachel!
    Please write a post of ” a day in the life of cabin crew on standby”

    • December 21, 2014 / 5:32 pm

      There’s not a whole lot to write about – it’s basically sitting around waiting to be called out for a flight 🙂

  3. lucy
    December 16, 2014 / 7:39 pm

    Hi Rachel, if this is the last blog post for some time, I wish you very merry Christmas!!! 🙂
    Btw how are you going to celebrate it?

    • December 21, 2014 / 5:32 pm

      Thank you! I’ll be celebrating by doing my exams on the 24th and 25th! Boo 🙁

  4. Anonymous
    December 15, 2014 / 10:44 pm

    On average how much allowance do you get for each layover ?

    • December 21, 2014 / 5:32 pm

      Completely depends on the location, length of the layover, etc. I would say anywhere on average from 40 – 100 Euros.

  5. December 15, 2014 / 2:09 pm

    Love your blog! 😀 I am doing one about Dubai too! trying to keep it real and fun and not so much as glamourous as we get to see it most of the times 🙂 check it out!

    • December 21, 2014 / 5:30 pm

      Thanks for reading! I’ll head over to your blog and give it a read 🙂

  6. gabrielseed
    December 15, 2014 / 8:13 am

    Thanks for the great pictures and description which made me feel like I was there!

  7. Anonymous
    December 14, 2014 / 11:04 pm

    I was there 5 years ago,and still can feel the sensation of loneliness that left in my memories!!Most of all the esperience in the cell called “The Hole” where the prisoner was left all alone in the dark for weeks!!!!

    • December 21, 2014 / 5:28 pm

      Ah yeah I went in there, can’t even imagine being trapped in the complete darkness for so long!!

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