November 6, 2007

"Welcome to the Rock!"

I spent my day off yesterday on the streets of San Francisco. I took the 45 minute train ride into downtown from the station thats only about a 15 minute walk from our hotel. The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) is by far the best public transportation available on the west coast. Not quite knowing where I was going, I managed to walk around the busy financial district while I got my bearings on where I was. I then proceeded to walk down along the piers toward Fisherman's Wharf. After walking around Pier 39 and visiting the sea lions, I made my way to wait for the boat to Alcatraz.

I spent a couple hours over there enjoying the sites. The highlight of the visit was the prison of course. The tour is supported by audio. They give you headphones to listen to former guards and prisoners discuss their experiences on Alcatraz as they guide you around the facility. The most interesting story was that of the escape of three prisoners who dug their way out through the air vents and escaped up to the roof. The made dummy heads to put in their bunks which were discovered the next morning during roll call. They were assumed to have drowned swimming across the bay during their escape but their bodies were never found.

After spending my time on "The Rock," I took the boat back and walked down to Pier 45. I took a look around and took a few pictures before stopping at Sabella & LaTorre for dinner. I then jumped on a very crowded streetcar back to the BART station and jumped on the train back to the hotel. Overall, a nice way to spend a day off taking in the many sites of San Francisco.