San Francisco Travel Blog› entry 8 of 11 › view all entries
I started the day with a trip to Alcatraz Island, also known as the Rock. I got to the pier early, so I could catch the first ferry to the island. My plan was to see Alcatraz, and then go to Oakland for a football game. I got on board the ferry to Alcatraz. More about the actual visiting part of Alcatraz in the review here.
Once there, everyone was given an orientation and history by a ranger. I picked up a map, and walked to the Building 64. I went inside, and saw the artifacts and saw a little bit of a film. Hard to believe that there were people who lived on Alcatraz, and those people thought of it as a small town, without any major problems. By the time the prison closed, the island was briefly taken over by Native Americans.
I went up the trail, looking at various buildings, until I got to the cellhouse. Once inside, I got an audioguide, which gave an informative tour of the place, given by a former guard. Each row of jail cells happened to be named after some famous street in the US, like Broadway and Michigan Ave.
This was a prison where escape would be impossible. Security was very tight, and even if the prisoners found a way out of the cellhouse, they would have a difficult time getting by the rough waters of the bay. There have been some prisoners who attempted escape, but none that were really successful. One of the notable prisoners held there, was Al Capone, famous mobster from the 20's.
I walked around, seeing the recreation yard and the warden's office, as well as the control room and isolation cells.
I did get to step outside, where I could see the bridges and the city. It has been told that seeing the city and bridges was disheartening to the prisoners, because of seeing it but not able to go to it. Or something like that.
The tour ended in the dining room, where the prisoners ate. After that, I went to the gift shop, and got to see an Alcatraz inmate in person. He was there for a book signing. But still, just unbelievable to see one. I don't remember his name.
I enjoyed touring the prison very much. I remember first hearing about it from the movie "The Rock", believe it or not. I would leave the island via ferry, returning to the city. Then picked up some lunch, and headed to Oakland for a football game.