Monday, April 28, 2014

Alcatraz Island Visit


Ben and I had one full day to spend in San Francisco (read about the rest of our days in San Francisco here) and the number one thing to do had to be a trip to Alcatraz. It is recommended to book your trip in advance so I went for the 10am slot figuring that we'd be up early due to jet lag. 

Pier 33 was already buzzing with activity when we arrived and we were able to walk around the models of Alcatraz Island whilst we waited to board the Alcatraz Clipper to Alcatraz island. 



The ferry ride takes approx 15 minutes across to Alcatraz Island and gives a wonderful opportunity to see the Golden Gate Bridge (which was almost hidden by fog on our trip), watch people sailing in the waters and admire views of San Francisco. Ben and I chose to sit on the open top deck which was very cold and windy - warm clothing is a must. Soon Alcatraz Island came into view.





Once you have stepped off the ferry everyone gathers under the above sign for instructions from the guides. There is an opportunity to join guided tours but Ben and I decided we wanted to go it alone and rely on the audio tour and our own investigations. Once we had taken note of the ferry schedule and heeded the rules of the island (no eating, drinking and the like) we begun the climb to the prison cells. If you ever visit Alcatraz as well as warm clothing make sure you have your comfy shoes on - the climb is steep!




The cell block was surprisingly small but obviously built to pack the prisoners in going three high. Ben found the cells quite comfortable although I found them less so!



It was interesting to hear about attempted escape attempts by prisoner, one of which left the grenade scars above. One of the attempts by a prisoner was achieved by starving themselves so they could squeeze through bars which were slightly expanded - I don't think I could get my leg through the bar let alone my whole body!



It was interesting to see the contrasting prisoner and wardens facilities and I hadn't realised that families of the wardens lived on the island in provided housing. Not sure I would enjoy living alongside the countries most dangerous criminals.



At the end of the tour we were able to meet one of the few surviving prisoners who was on the island signing copies of his book about his experiences. Overall it was an enlightening and interesting experience and both Ben and I have returned home with a desire to watch Clint Eastwoods Escape from Alcatraz so an online order is on the cards.

And don't forget...



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23 comments:

  1. So interesting to see - I'd love to visit. Seems like you had a brilliant trip :o) Xx

    Makeup by Candlelight

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    1. It really was interesting and so glad I've had an opportunity to visit x

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  2. OOOOh I've already booked my Alcatraz tickets for my San Fran trip / honeymoon. It was good to get a preview via your blog!! I booked the night time slot though cos I thought it would be scarier!!
    Lots of love,
    Angie
    SilverSpoon London

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    1. Oh I'm jealous of the night time visit, I can definitely imagine that will be very eery! If I return that will definitely be what I'll do as a return visit xx

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  3. ooh, didn't you come over all 'ghost adventures' and try to contact ghost prisoners? It always looks super scary through the night vision cameras, but you've made it look like jolly good fun!

    Must come back tomorrow and have a good catch up. You've been adventurin'!
    x'

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    1. That would've been so much especially if we'd done the night tour!

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  4. Replies
    1. I feel like I've been educated on my travels! x

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  5. Great post! In all the years I've lived in and visited San Francisco, I've never made it to Alcatraz. Been around the island numerous times on assorted sailing vessels but never booked a tour. We're heading back to the West Coast this summer - will be there for a few years so a trip to San Francisco is coming soon.

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    1. That's so funny you've never been to Alcatraz for a visit whilst living/visiting San Fran although if I had to name all the London sites I haven't been to it'd be a long list x

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  6. This was so interesting to read! Fantastic photos too. I'd love to visit San Franciso one day. xxxx

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  7. I've been to Alcatraz and I was fascinated from beginning until end! Always been a bit obsessed with prisons to be honest...I used to want to work in one! Weird!

    Great post

    Caroline
    www.cocktailsandcaroline.com

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    1. Don't worry, my obsession with the Krays is ridiculous and wanted to go and visit them in prison! I'd love to go on the night visit x

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  8. Wow, I bet that was such an interesting trip ... did you get goosebumps?

    x

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    1. Most defintely, especially with the audio tour by one of the actual prison gardens x

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  9. Looks really interesting, I would love to visit x

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    1. If you ever have an opportunity to go do take it x

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  10. Amazing, thank you so much for this post - I can't wait to visit this summer!

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    1. I bet when I see your amazing photos I'm going to want to return!

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  11. I loved Alcatraz, I find this sort of thing so interesting. Glad you had a good time x x x

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    1. I'm sure you would love it , it's hard not to be intersted x

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  12. Fascinating! Ben looks a little too at home in that cell lol x

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Thank you for visiting Florence and Mary I love reading everyone's comments and you'll always see a reply from me so don't forget to check back.

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