Despite his best efforts, Jez could not make me watch the Hollywood blockbuster ‘The Rock’ before our visit to Alcatraz. I mean, a jail on an island in the middle of a harbour? What’s the big deal?

Boy, was I mistaken. If there is one word that I could use to describe Alcatraz it would be desolate. The cold concrete walls and harsh San Fran weather make this place truly depressing. We used the audio-tour of the jail and listened to the commentary from people who had worked there and spend time behind bars. Surprisingly, most of the inmates were incarcerated for things like tax evasion rather than more brutal crimes.

What surprised me the most about this island was just how difficult it was to operate the jail itself. It wasn’t attached to any water mains, it wasn’t easy to get basics across to the island from the city and more importantly, the guards and their families had to live on site! It was a very expensive jail to run and so it was closed by the authorities. I highly recommend a visit to Alcatraz if you are in San Fran!

San Francisco

Greetings from San Francisco!

The Golden Gate Bridge

We’re alive and rested. The flight here was good, we managed to get some sleep on the 13hr flight from Sydney.

The hotel we’re staying at is called Hotel Diva. It’s old and noisy and the bed its terrible, but the location is fantastic. Its two blocks from Union Square and the main shopping centres. I suppose the hotel lives up to her name…

As we flew on the overnight flight, we needed to spend some time awake to get used to the time difference. Jez and I hopped on a bus tour of the city. We saw Fisherman’s Wharf, the Golden Gate bridge, Coit Tower all from the top deck of a red bus. When you’re out in the elements like we were, you tend to experience the extremes! While San Fran seems to be quite warm at the moment, the wind is ferocious! It must be almost 25 degrees in the sun but when you’re exposed to the wind, its about 5degrees. Bitterly cold! Unfortunately, no shorts or t-shirts just yet!

We tried to wear ourselves out and eventually we got to sleep only to wake up hungry (starving is more like it) at about 2am! Luckily, a chance encounter with a vending machine on our hotel floor was able to help us out with a truly American midnight snack!