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!

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