Escape to Alcatraz

Isn’t it odd how many people queue up to go to prison in San Francisco? Of course I mean Alcatraz and its a very busy place. I booked a fair bit in advance because tickets sell out quickly.

Decide to do the long to Fisherman’s Wharf from my hostel but of course this is San Francisco and what is San Francisco famous for? Hills! And these are not gentle inclines or these are mammoth climbs. It might look good in the Dirty Harry Films or other car chase movies but it’s pretty painful on your legs and quite hard going is spots. In fact the hills are so steep they have to put stairs into the pavement.

Stairs on the street

I wander through Chinatown and pass the Coit Tower, but despite plans to see the view from it I decide not to climb up any further to see it… I think I’d pass out!

After the long hike to I finally get to the Alcatraz cruise pier with not much time to spare and join the queue to go to jail. It’s quite a horrid day with scorching sun but freezing winds meaning I have no idea whether to stay wrapped up in my winter jacket or to strip to my vest top. San Francisco weather is not my favourite.

Soon I’m on the boat though and sheltered from the wind. As with most attractions Alcatraz is a little pricey but true to form I’ve found a way to save a few pennies. A usual $30 ticket includes an audio tour but the website advertises that you can opt out of this and receive your ticket for $10 cheaper only you need to buy it first and then receive a refund. Obviously most people see this as too much hassle but I am not most people!  Though it created a rather awkward moment and requires me to stand at the side and await a form being filled in it doesn’t take long and in my opinion its totally worth it. As I had hoped most of the information on the audio tour is displayed on the walls and even better everyone else is wandering about in silence listening to there headsets so the entire place is perfectly silent making the experience even better as you explore in the eerie silent atmosphere.

As I wander round the prison, learning about attempted escapes, inmate life and routine I can’t help noting that Alcatraz actually has some of the best views of the San Francisco bridges and the bay.




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