Monday, 13 May 2013

Day 6: San Francisco Part 2: Alcatraz


We sat down on the top deck of the boat, which is one of few in the world that is largely solar powered, and they have neat flat screens around the boat showing the power distribution to the engines, on board facilities and any diesel input required to supplement the suns rays.

Love the name of the boat by our side.

They announced the safety rules, and then said that the night time cruises get a special treat of circling the island before docking that the day trips don't get. We picked the right side, by luck, as we were afforded terrific views of San Francisco and then of the island, as long as ignorant people don't stand in front of you but they can be easily complained at.

Should anyone do this, you want the left hand side as you are looking at the front of the ship.

The journey round the island was extensively commentated and very interesting, and when you get off the boat you are given the choice of wandering off by yourself or listening to a tour guide. Ours was very interesting as he was involved in many episodes of one of the Ghost Shows and needless to say he wasn't a believer and learnt quickly they were using the trivia about the prison he was telling them to set up situations were psychics would state they knew a person was suffering/dying in location X.

I'll say no more so you can enjoy yourself.

Once up the death march hill, 13 stories he said and it sure felt like it, you are given a set of headphones for our audio tour which you can run at your own pace. Packed full of noises and voices from ex-inmates as well as a virtual tour guide moving you around as he talks, it really was a treat.


The creepy hospital wing only opens at night

Again, I'll say little more as it needs to be experienced as a whole, but I'll throw in a few pictures and tell you Al Capone's cell was number 131 at first, as they don't tell you that on the tour. Right at the start you can see its the one open cell on the second floor.

Done with the tour there are some optional extras but they didn't seem that exciting so we thought we'd catch the early boat and headed back down to the dock which was considerably easier than going up.

On the boat with time to spare we watched folks bust a stitch running down the hill to catch the boat in time, with five unlucky individuals not making it. What was amusing but shouldn't be was that one of the party did make the boat, and had to wave them goodbye with an hour and a half wait at the other end for them to catch up.

Making sure we were one of the first off the boat we grabbed the only taxi waiting there, which was a posh town car, and we knew it would cost us but not too badly in the end. Just double that of a yellow cab at $25. And surprisingly - or maybe not - he couldn't change a $50 but unsurprisingly the doorman at our hotel could.

We loaded up on supplies at Walgreens now it was devoid of a private party and retired to the room. My cough was now getting bad so I knocked back some milkshake and went to bed. We watched a show about a lady who renovates old houses which was interesting and went to sleep.

Perchance to dream of hiking up mountains shortly.


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