This morning I awoke rather fresh after a decent nights sleep. This surprised me because, I’m staying downtown and I could hear traffic all night when I woke up once or twice. Its quite loud during the day and the hostel does have it covered though with free earplugs.
Anyway I did what every other San Franciscan does in the morning and grabbed a coffee at Starbucks. How do I know every San Franciscan does this? Well two small reasons, there is literally a Starbucks every block and I saw everyone walking around with one. In fact from getting my coffee and drinking it this morning I counted 6 Starbuck stores.
I’m not a fan of Starbucks coffee though. Its alright, beats a lot of what I drank in Central America (despite the awesome beans grown there) except for a couple of great coffee shops I found. So I really just walked in a general direction down Market St to the Embarcadero and the main ferry terminal. Then I walked up to pier 33 for the Alcatraz ferry hoping to book a seat sometime before I leave. I’d heard they get busy and can be booked out days in advance. No problems I bought a ticket and 10 minutes later I was on a ferry to Alcatraz.
Alcatraz isn’t too far from downtown San Francisco. Apparently what made it difficult to escape is not the distance of the swim, but rather the currents and temperature of the water. Of course people escaped. Well they either escaped really well or drowned as not many were caught!
Of course there was a big introduction on Alcatraz warning us all how steep it was to climb up and take our time and if we wanted there was a free bus service to the top. Please I’ve climbed a few volcanoes in my life. The thing was they made it out to be difficult, but it really was a nice pleasant walk. It wasn’t a steep climb, rather a lot of long sloping roads. Even the steep Agave trail which I took, wasn’t steep and was much more scenic.
I grabbed an audio tour for the prison block. I thought god i’m going to be bored with this, but it was a rather good audio tour. Kept me interested for the whole 45 minutes. I went back through the gardens etc afterwards and visited the bookshop. I grabbed the ferry back to shore or as the guy yelled out on the ferry “any more escapees”, as if the well worn jokes they used on Alcatraz were fresh and new.
After that I wandered the touristy pier 39, with heaps of shops and restaurants and other tourist things on Pier 39. I’d really come to see the Sea lions and they were there basking in the sun.
My final highlight for the day was a ride on the cable car back to my hostel. I caught the Powell-Hyde cable car back over the hills of San Francisco. The grip man was actually quite a funny guy and had people scared shitless on the bends. Especially those hanging on the outside of the cable car. I was seated next to the grip man. I think I might take up a career as a cable car grip man, i’ve got the necessary attributes required to pull on the big levers that brake the cable car and grip the cable.
So thats it for the day. My feet are killing me, but its been a great day out and about. Tomorrow I’m going to cycle the Golden Gate bridge. Well I was going to do that today, expecting Alcatraz to be booked out. Then Saturday i’ll do some last minute wandering and shopping before going to the football game and flying home.
Its ending all too soon. Next week I apparently have to go to work for 4 days. It feels like i just left work last friday for my holidays.
I know you are all excited and can’t wait to see me but you’ll have to wait just a few more days…….