It isn’t every day that you can write a post with a heading like that! (Also sorry I didn’t write this post last night after my trip).
So as I mentioned previously I will try and make this post as short as possible and then will do a big post when I home (but I took so many photos it may be a few posts!).
Alcatraz was amazing… I always expected it to be, and was so excited but at the same time it completely exceeded my expectations. You leave the clear blue skies of San Fran and board a boat to Alcatraz and as you cross the water a hazy fog sets in and covers the Island but the sun still shines through it! The wind also picks up (so glad I got told to take a coat – and thank you The Travel Hack for recommending me one – I will link this post to her post and the coat when I am home).
The island is just breathtaking, you have views out to other islands and cities covered in a slightly hazy fog, and then clear blue skies over San Fran where the skyline is full of skyscrapers and houses as well as being able to see some of the famous roads that are on hills!
It is hard to believe that you are only a mile away from San Fran and the weather couldn’t be more different (it wasn’t freezing, but I definitely needed a coat and in some parts on the edges of the Island the wind nearly blows you off your feet!).
I watched a video, wandered around for ages and also did the audio tour (the English audio tour is the only tour which is spoken by former prisoners and officers). I also heard them close one of the rows of cells – and the noise was just something else!
There are some rules on Alcatraz such as no eating or drinking except water and I was amazed to see everyone respecting that!
One of the best things about Alcatraz is you pay for your ticket for a specific time but you can come back on any boat you want to. I pre-booked my ticket as I knew it was something I was definitely going to see, and was also told to book early as it gets full and you can rarely buy tickets when there (especially in the summer)! So glad I did as the next available slot to buy tickets for was the 6th July!
So what did I see… The cellblock, the officers accommodation, the control room, the dining hall, the library, the outside garden/parade and lots more! Some of it is still in a good condition (I use that term lightly and by that I mean it isn’t just a shell of a building – but I certainly wouldn’t want to be living in it) and others are just the shell of what was formerly there.
The icing on the cake (aside from the whole Island itself and the breathtaking views) was getting to meet and speak with a former inmate. William G. Baker – he was so lovely to meet and speak with and I got a book signed by him! Such a surreal experience and one I will never forget – it isn’t every day you can say you shook hands with a former Alcatraz prisoner!
I am going to upload some of my phone photos and more info on meeting William G. Bates in another post as I am conscious this is already quite long!
It is also weird that “The Rock” which many describe as completely uninhabitable (and you can see why) is also home to some of the most beautiful flowers and so many birds! It is such as mix of beauty and life as well as the toughness of a prison that was always behind the times!