Thursday, 20 September 2012

A week in San Francisco

A week, yes a whole week, we did a week in L.A. so why not a week in S.F.

We elected to stay out of town again, but this time we knew in advance that we were going to use the Bay Area Rapid Transport (BART).  It's a network of trains that criss crosses the whole of the greater San Francisco Bay area.  We could drive for 40 minutes, hop on the BART and be in town in another hour. Sorted. Now i know that sounds like a long time to travel, but it was no hassle and the trains where pretty comfy.

Day One, We spent the day on the local area, picking up some stuff, doing the odd job round the Rv, nothing interesting.

Day Two, we hopped on to the BART, blasted into town and hit the Wharf, starting at pier 1 and walking up to pier 40 ish, looking at the SeaLions that have taken up residence on Pier 39 for the last 22 years, looking at the Disney Wonder, a cruise ship that is currently in dock.  There is lots going on and lots to see, it's a touch cooler than what we have seen since being here and it's so nice not to be walking about cooking in our t-shirts.  When we got just past Pier 40 something I spotted a cycle hire place, so we did, two bikes, and a route that would take us over the Golden Gate Bridge, and to a ferry port on the far side of the bay and a ferry back to the near side.  The cycle was great, the views were awesome, and it'll go into the memory banks never to be forgotten.

Apparently we are about to cycle over that........

Day Three, A day off, well that was the idea, we ended up driving out to Berkley so I could pick up some spares for my AR Drone, and I'm glad we did, the area was really nice, so much so we stopped for lunch and had a nice walk about.

So this is mine. what you havin?

Day Four, Santa Cruz, or what some might know as Santa Carla, the alternate name was what it was called in the film 'Lost Boys' yes it's another film set.  We walked the beach, walked the pier, had a really nice day.

The parking lot and roller coster from "Lost Boys".

Day Five, Another day off, a proper day off, I've started to get really miffed with driving for hours every day, the stress of driving in town is getting to me.  So today I've refused to drive, or even go out in the car!

Day Six, Alcatraz & a visitor.
Ali here...My turn.

Alcatraz was my idea. It was somewhere i have always wanted to go. Again it has appeared in numerous movies. Plenty of film stars have walked the corridors of this infamous jail and lived to tell the tail. But its a pretty daunting place to be.
The Island was originally set up as a defence post for the bay and its first inmates where deserters and such like. Once the gold rush had died down and the "Defence Post" was no longer needed the military buildings where turned in to the jail we know now.
As you would expect its not a pretty place. Its a jail. its not supposed to be pretty. But its really not a nice place. There was a quote on one of the walls in the visitors shop. It said...

"If you break the rules, you go to prison.
If you break the prison rules, you go to Alcatraz."

This was a place for the worst offenders of its time, the most troublesome inmates. And it shows. The cells are 5x9x7 concrete boxes with bars on the front. D Block was solitary and although the rooms where actually bigger it was simply because the men where locked in 24/7, only being released once a week for a shower and change of clothes. The last 4 rooms on D Block are "Dark Solitary" and basically are a metal box with a toilet in. The lights where meant to be kept on in these 4 rooms but both guards and inmates alike stated they where never put on....

Now we all have our own opinions about incarceration. And i dont want to get into a debate about the living conditions of inmates. All i will say is, if i was ever jailed at Alcatraz, and lived through it, i dont think i would ever want to break the law again.....

The island is undergoing a lot of renovations. At the moment the iconic water tower at one end of the island is all wrapped up and is being restored. The original wardens house is just a derelict building, and the guards housing where they lived with their families, kids included, are also being restored. There is also a conservation order on parts of the island and its a national park where people volunteer to help the upkeep of the flora and fauna. But none of this really distracted from the reality of what was once a maximum security detention center for some of the most notorious criminals on the planet.

I think i can honestly say iv never been so fascinated and horrified at the same time.....

The walk from the dock.

Oh, and our visitor was the lovely Mr Byatt. Here on a 2 week training course for his new job. Bless him for traveling all that way for a cuppa. Love you Steve. xxx

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