Day 14 – San Francisco tour & Alcatraz

Hello! This is day 14

We started the morning early, walking down to Fisherman’s wharf from Union square, its a fair hike mostly because of all the hills! It’s freezing here in San Francisco, I certainly did not bring enough warm clothes for this city! First thing for the day, catching our 48 hr Hop on – Hop off tour bus, this bus takes you around all the tourist area’s of the city in about 2 and a half hours, it was great as we actually got a human tour guide, so we decided to stay on the bus for the round trip, leaving us enough time to catch the ferry to explore Alcatraz later and allow us to use the bus as a form of taxi tomorrow, things were working out so far so good today!

The tour guide was very fun and had many great facts that he shared about this crazy city! Such a busy and packed city, houses squished everywhere and so expensive! There is actually a housing shortage in San Francisco and it is the most expensive city to live in, in America! Some of the flats with one bed room, tiny kitchen and bathroom fetching $4,000 a month! We also learnt that people are not even allowed to be buried in the city as there is not enough space for a cemetery, they all get sent to a town called Colma, just outside San Francisco. We sat at the top of the double decker roofless bus and it was so cold in the wind when the bus got going, it dropped about five degrees going over the Golden Gate and the wind was insane! We really enjoyed this bus ride and learning a lot about the city’s history, but were glad to get off and warm up once we got to the end.

It was now time to head over to the ferry to Alcatraz! It was so busy and we waited in a massive line to catch the ferry. ( be patient… be patient) Fun fact: its estimated that at least 5,000 people visit Alcatraz every day, that’s insane! Alcatraz was very cool, and i’m glad we decided to come (it was freezing out there also) an eerie place full of history and understandably battered from the crazy San Francisco weather. It was a shame that many of the buildings were closed off and under refurbishment, we also got rushed out of one of the area’s as it was closing (at 3pm in the afternoon and the island is open until dark, lame) but the audio tour was awesome. Guards who actually worked at Alcatraz and previous prisoners telling stories of the events that happened on this island and what a lonely isolate place it was. We explored here for many hours before catching the ferry back, ready to catch our night time tour of the city!

The tour was on one of the double decker, roofless buses and boy was it a cold day! I had worn sandals (with the intention of getting my sneakers) and my feet were freezing! Grabbing two San Francisco souvenir jumpers for extra warmth we thought we were ready for this tour! We weren’t, it was so cold! I had the hoodie string pulled tight around my face, only my eyes free to look around haha! It was great to see the city by night, but by now the fog had really rolled in and we couldn’t even see the sunset, the tour guide was a lady this time and wasn’t as good as the fella we had during the daytime. The bus took us over the double decker bay bridge and over to treasure island. What a fantastic view of the city! And the bridge looked great strung in lights. Luckily the bus’s last stop after letting others off was Union Square, so we could use it as a shuttle to get us back to our hotel (neither of us wanting to walk 1.5 miles uphill in the freezing cold at 9pm).

Not having had time to eat between Alcatraz and the night tour and only having a small lunch of a shared hot dog and cookie, we were tired and hungry and the thought of another line drove us nuts! So we stopped at 7eleven (across the road from our hotel) we ordered a large pizza for $6 and grabed an x-large Mexican hot chocolate to share for $2.20 they were both HUGE, tasty and neither of us could get through our last piece of pizza. It was nice to snuggle up in our closet (hotel room) for the night and eat pizza in bed finally getting back at 10.30pm.

This was a very enjoyable day, such a great (and expensive) place to visit, but I would hate living here!

Thanks for reading! Enjoy the photo’s

N&G

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Crazy cool house near china town
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I was very sad to hear about Robbin Williams death, being a family favorite in our home I grew up watching all his movies.
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The man who invented the trams did so because of the hills being so steep and too hard for horses to cart things up. The death of 5 horses being dragged to their death because of the heavy cart loads and very steep hills is a very sad story, mentioned on one of our tours.

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Weirdest tour bus I have ever seen
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I just loved being here so early to see the sleepy wharf being cleaned off by this fellow, the water he is using to clean the side walk looks awesome.
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How fancy are these CARAMEL apples, that’s right caramel not toffy over here..
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Such cool artworks on buildings everywhere over here
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Ta -chi or something in the park
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The guy who tagged this building is a famous graffiti artist
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Such amazing architecture

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How beautiful is this building!
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The Transamerica Pyramid
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Our tour guide
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Us on the tour bus, sad to say Greg got very sunburned on his face today….
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Some glass towers standing out like sore thumbs in this historic city..
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Look its the Hobart Building
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This Fountain was donated to the city by the famous singer Lotta Crabtree as the people loved her and she loved them. she made so much money, apparently leaving the city with suitcase filled with cash sometimes!
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This statue was modeled by Alma de Bretteville Spreckels, she married Adolph B. Spreckels, he was 24 years her senior, very rich and head of the Spreckles sugar company cleverly she came up with the term ‘Sugar Daddy’ and this is where the term originated from!

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City Hall

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This sign says ‘No balls behind fence’ … guess those kids didn’t listen

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Hippy central, They only sell ti-dyed things!
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How cool is this piece of street art!
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Still in sleepy Hippy central ( not opening till noon!) The artwork is fitting and the ‘Burger Urge’ sounds just like what those Stoners need haha
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Okay i’m listening…

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The Golden Gate in a roof – less bus! SO cold and SO Windy but fun!
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The fog is insane here! The tour guide mentioned a term used here ‘if you don’t like the weather in San Francisco just wait 20 minutes’

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The Gates to China Town.
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I did not know about the Indians occupying Alcatraz, they did this as a protest making a stand about their rights to their land.
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Alcatraz was first built as an Army base to protect the city and bay.

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SO creepy..

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I Love this photo, Greg captured this.
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Shared showers…
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These cells are seriously tiny, the beds crooked and the barred windows allow the wind to blow right on in, what a miserable place..

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Where you got put if you were really naughty, pitch black and nothing but yourself and thoughts…

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The fog blowing back in..
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View of the city from Alcatraz
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Where some inmates escaped ..
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They used real knives in the kitchen and the outline of each was painted on the knife rack so as they would know if any went missing, apparently many did!
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The mess room which the Prisoners called ‘The Gas Chamber’ because of all the tear gas up and around the celing waiting to be dropped in case of an incident, apparently they were never used. On the audio track a prisoner mentioned that they should be glad they never did use them as the guards in the mess room would have signed their own death sentences!
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The Sea Gulls are MONSTERS over here, some of them at least 2 times bigger than Australian sea gulls!

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I would not like to be the one in that cage…
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The Morgue
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Watchtower

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On our bus Night tour, it was freezing! check out the ladies beside me if you can.. and you think I look ridiculous..
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Hi from two icicles, I though this was meant to be summer!
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The crazy bus power lines all over the city
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Its like 7.30 – 7.45 at this point and yep still light.
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Look at that Fog
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The Bay Bridge through the fog
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Part of China town

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A bit of sun…
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SO pretty
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Greg got some great photo’s of the bridge tonight!

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I love this photo! I know its a little bury, but it looks magical to me!
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