11 July 2015

Alcatraz day

The kids are picking us up at 10:30 for our trip to the city and Alcatraz. We drove to Millbrae to catch BART into the city. We bought our tickets and got right on a train for the 40 minute ride to the Embarcadero station.

When we got up to street level, we were in the middle of a craft fair with lots of vendor booths selling cool stuff...jewelry, pottery, art, etc. We didn't really have time to look at stuff though as we had a ferry to catch and wanted to get something to eat first. We had time but not extra.

We went to the ferry terminal building to use the restrooms but the place was packed so that we could hardly move and the restroom lines were really long. The men's line was shorter (of course) so Al waited in line but Ashley and I decided to try our luck elsewhere.

We left the ferry building and headed up the street toward Pier 33, where we needed to catch the ferry to Alcatraz. We got there with a little time to spare. Ashley and I found a restroom that was actually a big trailer backed into a warehouse building by the pier. It looked like it was run by the park service, based on the uniforms of the people tending it.

There was a hot dog stand set up by the ferry staging area so we picked up some dogs and drinks before getting on the ferry. We were some of the first people on the boat and went straight to the top level to find seats. It was a gorgeous, clear, sunny day and a perfect one to do Alcatraz!

We got off the ferry at the dock and walked up the hill to the cell block building. We picked up headsets for the audio tour and started in.

The audio tour was really well done. It was informative, interesting and timed perfectly so that you had history and general information as you walked between the displays. People were sometimes bunched up a bit around the displays but it generally flowed well as people were always a little out of sync, depending on when they started the audio.
Cell set up as it would be with a prisoner.

"The Great Escape" with fake head in the bed and vent enlarged for escape.

Seagull and chicks nesting on the island.

D Block cells with isolation cells at floor level
Inside an isolation cell. With the door closed, they're pitch black inside.
A little after 3, we caught a ferry back to SnF. We continued walking up the street to Pier 39 (apparently, they don't call it "Fisherman's Wharf" anymore) and ate at Wipe Out, a surf themed restaurant on the pier. By the time we were done eating, we were all a bit wiped out and decided to head back rather than wander around more. We still had the walk back to the train station, the 40 minute train ride to Millbrae and then 30 minutes or so by car back to Cupertino.