Sunday, September 6, 2009

San Francisco - Day 2 (August 30)

Here was a homeless man yelling at another homeless man. What a charming city.

Today we after finding a random church, we headed to the piers and Fisherman's wharf. It was a pretty cool day, hence the preppy look for Andy in the only long shirt he brought.

We wandered around a bit, enjoyed the masses of sea lions, and checked out some of the shops on the pier.

This is the restaurant where we ate lunch. We loved it. In addition to tables overlooking the pier, their was a fireplace, and a really nice trendy feel. Andy had crab legs, and I had mahi mahi. It was delicious. We lingered there longer than was necessary.

We had planned to take a drive over the Golden Gate Bridge, but decided it would be more fun to take a cruise through the bay. We bought tickets to a big ferry ride that went directly under the bridge, around Alcatraz, and then under the Bay bridge. It was chilly and windy, but a lot of fun. Here are my favorites from the trip:

Alcatraz from a distance

The Bay Bridge

San Fran as seen from the bay

After the cruise, we ate some chili in a sourdough bowl from a little stand, grabbed a hot chocolate, and then did something else I've always wanted to do... We went on a night tour of Alcatraz Island.

The boat left while it was still light, so we had a great view of the island and all of the buildings, but by the time we were inside the prison, it was sufficiently dark and eerie. The prison is the big building at the top of the hill, and the rest of the buildings are workshops and living quarters. I hadn't realized before that the warden and prison guards, along with their families lived on the island with the inmates. Even lots of little kids. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't go for that, even though they said that since everyone's dad was a cop, it was one of the safest places to live.

Here are some shots from the inside (by this point my camera battery was dead, so these were all taken on my phone. Sorry for the poor quality.):

Isn't he cute in his headphones?

First the island was a military prison, but after it got too expensive, they evacuated it and the American Indians took it over as a retreat. They decided it was too expensive as well (electricity, fresh water, sewage, etc.) and handed it over to the federal penitentiary association, who turned it into a maximum security prison for convicts who kept escaping from other places. Al Capone and some other famous cons were there, so it was cool to see where they were kept.

This was the prison kitchen. I liked this picture because you can see the knife panel where the knives are painted on. This is so guards could immediately tell if one of the knifes was missing.

The night tour was really cool because they do things that they don't do during the day. For example, we sat in the prison while they told stories of some of the escapes that took place and the details of how the cons made it work. Also, at the very end of the day, they show you how the prison doors work. Apparently they were very high tech for the day, and they can open and close individually or together. They call it "the sound of the slammer" and open all of the doors along the row, and slam them at the same time. It was really fun to see it, but I can't imagine that it was a fun place to hang out for years on end.


Smith Clan said...

I've always wanted to go to SF. What a great trip! I love little adventure weeks or weekends.

MaryRuth said...

I cannot believe all the sea lions! Holy cow!

Looks like an awesome trip!