The day started off really well with messages from home. Kerry had emailed twice recounting how the kidswere doing well and how their excursions had gone. I was relieved, and glad to hear some news about them.
We were off to Alcatraz, which involved heading to the Port for a short ferry trip across the Bay. The Port, with its huge Piers, is amazing. It is on a huge scale that makes everything else pale into comparison. You are reminded just how important the port was/is to San Francisco.
It took longer to embark onto the ferry than the ferry trip itself, mainly due to the fact we had to have a photo taken of us standing behind a photo of Alcatraz before getting on the ferry! Needless to say the ferry took off at the appointed time and once we had arrived at the island, we were greeted by a ranger who told us where to go to in a very well rehearsed speech. We trooped up the steep hill to the penitentiary, stopping every so often to catch our breaths, or in my case to enjoy the view and the surrounds.
We lined up to collect our audio tour in the old shower block. I am not sure if it is part of the experience of a tour in general, or simply Alcatraz, but the herding and the queueing up did resemble being treated like an inmate 🙂 .
The audio tour recounts the experiences and history of the penitentiary, as recounted by former guards and inmates. It guides you through the prison, allowing you to see and hear about life on the Rock.
You also get a chance to head outside and see the view of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge, which today was shrouded in fog.
Wandering down the hill we stopped off at the to watch a short documentary about Alcatraz, which spoke about its history as a military fort, as well as being occupied by Native Americans.
It was a fantastic experience.
We headed downtown on a streetcar very much like this one for a little bit of shopping for socks.
I finally found some tonic water- huzzah! You can find the most amazing products in American supermarkets like organic mashed potatoes in a box, but sometimes the things you really need or want cannot be bought.