Alcatraz and wine bars via The Golden Gate
"Once we had checked into our room we couldn't wait to get out, so we went across the road to a bar called The Barn Owl, and had a couple of drinks with free cheese and biscuits.
It is quite difficult getting used to hostels again. There were 6 of us on our room, Sarah and I, and then 4 french people I think. Luckily, the two beds Sarah and I had were in a seperate section to the other beds, so we had a bit more space each than we would normally have in a hostel.
On our first morning in San Francisco, we got up early and planned our sightseeing for the day. We decided that in the interest of saving money and getting some exercise we were going to walk all over San Fransico, so we headed off towards the Golden Gate Park and Bridge.
We got lost pretty quickly and when we asked someone how to get to the Golden Gate Park they said it was too far to walk and we would have to get a bus. We did that and spent an hour or two looking around the park.
We went up the tower which had a 360 dgeree view over San Francisco, so we took some pictures, and then went to the japanese tea gardens. However, we had to pay $5 to get in, and having already seen a tonne of Pagoda's in south east asia we reasoned we did not need to part with our money.
Golden Gate Park
View of San Francisco from the top of the tower
We walked through the park towards the Golden Gate Bridge. It didn't look too far on the map, but in reality, it took almost 2 hours to walk there. When we arrived it was really cloudy and foggy, meaning we couldn't even see the top of the bridge. As a result, our pictures of the bridge are pretty disappointing. This is the best one I have......
Golden Gate Bridge
We then caught a bus to Lombard street and went to find Mrs Doubtfire's house. After taking a few pictures we walked up some of the steepest hills i have ever known to find the "crooked street", which is the most crooked street in the world, and we took some pictures of that. Hills are impossible to avoid when walking in San Francisco, but it was good exercise so we didn't mind!
Mrs Doubtfire's house
View of San Francisco from the top of the crooked street
The crooked street
By this pont, it was late afternoon and we were pretty shattered, so we decided to walk back to the hostel - which was about 15 blocks away up long steep hills! However, as we got near to the hostel, we got side tracked by Union Square, and as it was a gorgeous day, we spent the rest of the afternoon drinking champagne in the sun and eating Foccacia bread with a balsamic dip. We felt we had earned it after the 8 hours of walking we had done!
We also heard that day that Michael Jackson had died, and as if on cue, Michael Jackson's greatest hits blasted out from one of the nearby stores.
It was another early start for our trip to Alcatraz. We walked down to the Pier to catch the boat that would take us across. When we arrived we walked inside the Prison where there was an audio tour. It lasted about an hour and was so fascinating. The voices on the tour included four of the prison officers and four of the inmates. They took you round all of the cells, explaining the different blocks, including the isolation room, where inmates sometimes had to spend over two weeks. It was pretty eerie. The guy in my ear told me to walk into the isolation room, so I did, and then all I could hear were metal gates slamming shut.... It was pretty scary, I walked back out! The inmates had it pretty rough in there, some cells didn't even have beds.
The audio guide also explained how some of the inmates tried to escape, including the big escape attempt in the 1960's, where three of the officers were killed. I was hoping it would tell us which cell was Al Capone's, but it didn't.
Alcatraz prison from the outside
We arrived back in the city mid afternoon, so we walked to Pier 39 to look round the shops, and go for lunch and a couple drinks. I found this really cool Left hand store, where everything was designed for left handed people. Even the staff had to be left handed to work there. As a left handed person myself, I felt a great appreciation for it.....
Lefty's, the left hand store
We went to this nice wine bar, and got chatting to a couple next to us who lived in LA. I asked what she was drinking as it looked really good, and she told me it was Sangria. Literally, two minutes later the waiter came to us with two glasses of Sangria, explaining they were from a group of guys sat on the table at the other side of us. We said thank you, and they said they had overheard me saying how good the Sangria looked so they bought us one.......... I ask you, would that ever happen in England?? I think not!
After a nice glass of cold Sangria, we still hadn't decided which wine we fancied so we opted for the wine tasting and had three kinds of the Sauvignon Blanc. Very nice, and true to form, our favourite was the most expensive one!
We had dinner and a cocktail then began the long walk back to the hostel. We had planned to have a night out, only when we arrived back we were both feeling a little tired. I planned to relax for 10 minutes before I got in the shower..... two and a half hours later at 9.30pm we both woke up! By that time, we couldn't be bothered to get ready so we had another night in.
The following day was our last day in San Francisco before flying to Vancouver. As we had done all the sight seeing we had planned to do, we decided to go to the cinema as there are about 20 films we want to watch! I don't know if some of them are out in the UK yet. We went to see My Sister's Keeper with Cameron Diaz, which is an excellent film but very sad. I don't think there was a dry eye in the cinema!
Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Alcatraz and wine bars via The Golden Gate.
TrackBack URL for this entry: