Favorite thing: The hardest of prisoners at Alcatraz (and that's saying something!) were sent into solitary confinement. This block of cells was called "the Hole". A "prison within the prison", these cells are unusually cold, dark places. Close your eyes and imagine yourself in one of these cells-on second thought, I'd rather not.
This is a cell at Alcatraz. You can look inside them, even enter a few. Not a pleasant place to be-at least not by choice. Next year: free HBO!
By the way, in New York City an apartment this size usually sells for at least $500,000-maybe even a million, if it's in the right neighborhood!
New trip, new camera, new picture.
The quality of my zoom allowed to take this better picture.
Alcatraz, also called "The Rock", has been opened in 1933, and it's been operational until 1963.
It is also famous because its keepers were sure that no one could ever escape from it. Somebody tried, it is documented, but nobody ever reached the shore, because of currents, cold and possibly Sharks!
Now it is a museum
Favorite thing: In addition to its more famous use, Alcatraz (specifically, the island) is also something of a nature sanctuary. Birds flock here, and check out some of the flora too. I'm not sure what kind of plant this is-maybe you know
If you want to tour Alcatraz, make sure that you pre book on the web - http://www.nps.gov/alcatraz/ - there are long queues and you may not make it if you don't pre-book.
Fondest memory: Seafood and the walk along the fort area.
Visit Alcatraz. And don't scimp on the tour or the earphones and cassette...just do it. It is quite an experience and you really can feel how it must have been for the 'Birdman' and 'Al Capone'. It is quite horrowing to think you could hear the celebrations from the mainland whilst your stuck rotting away in Jail.
Fondest memory: Being able to escape from Alcatraz.
Favorite thing: Go to Alcatraz. Sitting in the wind outside on that island after your round trip through this jail, you realize that it is better to work for money than get it on a easier way, because freedom ...you cannot buy!
There is one thing you MUST do in San Francisco. Alcatraz, now a National Park, previously a (in)famous prison and prior to that a military fortress. It is an amazing experience to walk the prison blocks while listening to the tour audio tape. I was most impressed witht he experience.
The picture shows the prisoner exercise yard.
Visit the marvellous Alamo Square for a real contrast between old and new. Photo opportunities are brilliant. See main photograph.
If planning a trip to Alcatraz, and it ought to be a must for everyone, try and book before you go. Hotels aren't allowed to pre-book trips for this wonderful experience and I'd pre-booked on line weeks before arrival. It certainly paid dividends on the day, long queues were avoided and in the hot sun lessened the wait for the ferry to the island.
If you are staying in Union Square and want to avoid the big queues from Fisherman's Wharf for the cable cars, take the normal bus service, which actually goes in the other direction but is half the price and much quicker.
Fondest memory: I loved Alamo Square, the contrast between old and new was startling. See the photo below. A tour of the Napa Valley is a must if you have time to get away from the city. Be sure to see the pelicans that hang around Fisherman's Wharf.
The great view of the Bay with Alcatraz offshore. We really wanted to do the Alcatraz trip but did not book prior to arrival. I expected that we would be able to get on the end of a tour. Not so - the earliest opportunity was a day after we left. We won't make that mistake again.
Fondest memory: One of the best memories is going to the Golden Gate Bridge. Everything we expected and no fog. The view back to San Francisco was fantastic.
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