The Streets of San Francisco

Trip Start Apr 08, 2009
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Trip End Jun 19, 2009


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Flag of United States  , California
Saturday, June 6, 2009


We stayed at Marin RV Park at Larkspur in San Francisco, a handy 30 minute fast ferry ride across from the city which we enjoyed each morning and evening. Our first day started off cloudy and bleak, and we wondered where the Spring had gone. But the sun came out and warmed us up for our trip out to Alcatraz Island.

Alcatraz was a military prison and the most secure prison in the US from 1936 until 1963 specialising in prisoners who were considered escape risks, including Al Capone.
We had a great time following a tour which explained how 3 men escaped in 1962, as presented by Clint Eastwood and others in the movie "Escape from Alcatraz". It was clearly very unlikely that they survived the chilly waters of San Francisco Bay, but it was a great story. The audio tour of the cellblock described the bleak living conditions in prison.

In the afternoon we explored Pier 39 (a tourist area which has a resident population of sea lions on the adjacent jetty) and Fisherman's Wharf, which was nothing like I remember it from my brief excursion many years ago and has lost much of its charm. But we did sit down to a seafood meal at one of the stalls for a late lunch or early dinner.

Next on our list was a ride on a cablecar up the hill, which was fun. It's a real stop-start affair and was crowded, and we couldn't believe the way that some people were hanging on from the outside, especially when we passed closely to the cablecar coming the other way with people doing the same.

At the end of the line, after we had got off and crossed the road, we heard the sound of tyres and a crunch - a taxi had crashed into the side of the empty cablecar, even though it was an area where no cars are allowed. This traffic incident was attended by at least 5 policeman and was covered in a short article in the San Francisco Chronicle the next day. That added a bit of excitement to the day.

Our 2nd day in San Francisco was more active. We hired bikes and rode along the seafront and across the Golden Gate Bridge in brilliant sunshine. The water was an aqua green and the bay was beautiful, with Alcatraz Island in the centre. There is much in common between SF and Sydney, which also has it's harbour, bridge and the island prison of Fort Denison.

We stopped at the Exploratorium science museum on the way back, a warehouse filled with hands-on exhibits that demonstrate science and how we are influenced by our perceptions. We spent a couple of hours there and could have easily spent more.

Our ride back to the ferry wharf was in an historic trolley bus or tram, so we can say we have sampled all of the transport delights of SF.
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Where I stayed
Marin RV Park

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