Easter Celebrations

San Francisco Travel Blog

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Lombard Street
When we moved to hostel number 2 in Chinatown, I finally understood about the hills in San Francisco. Previously I had seen them from afar, seen the cable cars trundle up and down but not actually been forced to climb one. We saw a squiggle on the map called Lombard Street and decided to take the cable car to the top to see what it was all about. Lombard Street is billed as the crookedest street in North America, zigzaging down the hill in order to allow cars to travel down. The road is beautiful, like a garden with the road winding through it, but I couldn't help but think it all looked abit too perfect. You could see that everyone driving down it was just doing it so that they could say they had.
The cell house
having said that, I'm sure I would have done the same!

Easter Sunday crept up on us, most of the time we don't have a clue what day of the week it is anyway, so we fully expected it to pass by without celebration. We had already booked our trip to Alcatraz Island (we had to book 4 days in advance it was so booked up), so we headed down to the piers to get the boat. It was extremely busy and again in a lot a ways a big tourist trap. We were given an audio tour headset which led us around the cell house and gave us viewpoints from ex inmates as well as guards. The one aspect which really stuck with me, was when an ex inmate said that the first time he saw inside the officers quarters was when he came back and did the tour as a tourist. I could only imagine how this guy must have felt, being back in the cell house he had spent so many years and finding hundreds of tourists taking photos of their friends grinning behind the bars.
Alcatraz Island
.... It was interesting though, there was alot about the history that I wasn't aware of, especially that after the prison closed, Native Americans staged a 19 month long protest against America taking over their land, by moving onto the island and trying to purchase it for $25 worth of beads. The Island was home to many different plants and animals not native to California due to top soil being shipped in when it was a military base. Despite the obvious down side to being on Alcatraz, the island is beautiful.

When we heard from someone else at the hostel that Easter Sunday afternoon was the time for the annual Big Wheel Race, involving lots of adult throwing themselves down a steep hill on kids trikes and other toys, it seemed too good to miss. Getting to the hill nearly killed us, as it was a part of city we hadn't visited yet and we were late, so had to rush up the steep hill! It really was worth it though, it was absolutely the most random, crazy, excellent way to celebrate the holiday weekend! Hundreds of spectators lined the streets as we waited for the first bike to come down.
Big Wheel Racing!!
The atmosphere was electric, bikes were crashing into each other, crashing into the spectators, people were dressed as gorillas, bananas, huge scary guys came down on Barbie trikes, tiny girlie girls shot down lying on skateboards, craaaaaaazy! Everytime everyone finished, they all trundled back up the hill to come down again, and again in what we were assured was 'true San Francisco style'.

After a few days of confusion with renting a car, we have finally managed to get one, and are going to drive down Highway 1 along the coast to Los Angeles. ROAD TRIP!!!
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Lombard Street
Lombard Street
The cell house
The cell house
Alcatraz Island
Alcatraz Island
Big Wheel Racing!!
Big Wheel Racing!!