Friday, August 23, 2013

Day 4 San Francisco

So this was on July 23. We took the advise of the gal at the hotel and took the ferry straight to downtown. It was super windy and cold so thank goodness I brought a jacket. We hustled right over from the pier we arrived at down to the Alcatraz ferry pier with a few minutes to spare. So on we went to another ferry. We were so excited to see Alcatraz. Our impressions were that it was really old and crumbly but it was so amazing to be there. So much history there and we have seen it lots on tv and in the movies but it doesn't come close to being there in person.
Docking at the pier

It was quite a climb to get up to the cell block

Still climbing

Who knew there were gardens there originally planted by the wives and families of the guards.

This is the "yard"

The morgue

 So we finally made it up to the cell block. That's where you pick up your headset for the tour. It was amazing because the real people who were either prisoners there at the time or guards were the ones telling their stories.
 The cell block was huge. They could have used a segway back in the day!
typical cell

Solitary confinement

Christina in solitary. Not sure what her offense was. She must have had a bad lawyer.

This is the gun gallery where the armed guards worked. No guns were allowed down in the cell block. Keys for the yard door etc were lowered down on the hook and line in the bottom left of the picture for the guards below..

This is the famous cell where the prisoner used a spoon to dig a hole to escape into the utility row behind the cells. The three of them that escaped were never found but they are believed to be dead from the cold and currents of the bay.

 It was an amazing place. The only bad part...NO FOOD on the island. So that sort of limits your stay. I beat the system though because I bought a souvenir chocolate bar in the gift shop that we shared!! Yup tossed the souvenir wrapper and we went to town. It held us over until we got back. Never underestimate the power of chocolate.

 So once we got back we walked the famous pier 39. It was really fun. Lots of shops and restaurants jammed in everywhere.
An early dinner at Bubba Gump's right on the water.

Fisherman's wharf was pretty cool. It was really crowded and not the cleanest of places but there was seafood everywhere as you can imagine. We just kept on walking and didn't want to risk a hospital visit by me hanging around.

Fisherman's wharf

 So our destination was Ghiradelli Square of course. We mastered the art of going in multiple doors to increase the number of free chocolate squares we got. That was pretty fun!
Our dessert!!

Ahhh the chocolate displays were fabulous.
 So we decided it might be quicker and easier to walk a bit up the hills to catch the trolley to get us to the subway that night.  Of course every singe trolley that passed by was too full to accommodate us so we just kept on walk!! I have been on steep roads before but holy cow these were crazy steep. And they were never ending.

We just happened into the top of Lombard street on our "walk" to the subway. It was amazing. We just knew we had to come back with the car and drive down it.

This trolley that went by had to back up and take a running start up this hill. Wow.
 So for the first while we were loving our walk. We went through Russian Hill, Knob Hill and about 30 blocks down Hyde St. We passed by some amazingly beautiful Victorians. They were incredible and we spent our time admiring them and the lovely neighborhoods. It started to get easier when after about 20 blocks we were going down hill for once. Gradually as it started getting darker we noticed there were no more trolleys and taxis or anything. No more people out for a stroll. Also the neighborhood wasn't so nice. The darker it got the faster we walked even though by now we were really feeling it. Apparently we ended up in the Tenderloin district. We had to get through it to get to the subway. In the dark. With guys coming out of the woodwork in little groups with their hoods up etc. Yeah we were freaking out. Me and my coach purse and Christina being a tall cute young blond! We really believe we had targets hovering above our heads and we also believe we made it through that mess and straight to the subway and out of there because we had help. Our prayers were definitely answered because we shouldn't have made it through like we did. The ironic thing is when we first saw our hotel the day before we thought is was pretty ghetto outside. Well now we were never so glad to see it again as we were that night. It looked pretty darn safe and cozy. So we walked 35 blocks AFTER we had dessert and we had walked at least ten before that along the piers. We were exhausted that night and felt we deserved a sleep in the next day.

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