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Yesterday we did one of the must-do things i San Francisco - visit Alcatraz Island. This place, whose name translates to something like Island of the Pelicans, was a fort from the late 1800s, a prison from the thirties to the sixties, housed about 200 inmates and has never seen a confirmed successful escape attempt. Additionally, it has a very scenic location in the San Francisco Bay with wonderful views of San Francisco itself and the surrounding landscape.

We went there by boat - which is the only way as far as I know, the island is a national park and its use thus fairly tightly regulated. $27 per ticket, this includes an audioguide tour of the cellhouse, which is the main prison building

The cellhouse

The audio tour is well worth taking. Former inmates and prison guards relate their experiences. It is well produced and the stories within are engaging, especially the one about an intricate escape attempt in the sixties where the escapees never resurfaced (most likely in a very literal way). I have to admit I did a tiny amount of surfing on my phone a few times during the tour, but “a few times” in my world means the content is pretty interesting.

We didn’t have that much time on Alcatraz - we arrived at 16:15 and left again 18:10, and spent most of our remaining time hanging out on the summit of the island, outside of the cellhouse, admiring the views and enjoying the sun. Yesterday’s temperature peaked at about 24-25 degrees celsius, which I am told is remarkable for late September in San Francisco.

I’m lovin’ it. Great views of the city.

If you are historically inclined or enjoy parks and scenery, do go to Alcatraz. A colleague recommended that we go late in the day, so we would see San Francisco at sunset on our way back, but as the last boat left the island at 18:10 that was a no can do. On other days (in other seasons?) boats depart later in the evening also. Something to keep in mind.

Alcatraz - we’re heading back to SF


Camilla,  26.09.10 11:22

Jeg begynner å merke at Eddie Izzards Dress to Kill har gjort noe med hodet mitt, for jeg driver og hører ham si Alcatraz, Alcatraz i bakhodet mens jeg leser.

I take it no one attacked with chemical weapons while you were there? (that was Alcatraz, wasn't it? Or was it some other famous prison?)


Camilla,  26.09.10 11:22

snakker om språkforvirring.
Travel reports
san francisco
Last edited by
Are, 25.09.10 21:07