We went to San Francisco and ended up in prison...

Trip Start Oct 02, 2006
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Trip End Mar 30, 2007


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Flag of United States  , California
Thursday, March 29, 2007

Hello from San Francisco!

So it's the last stop on our world tour. Have six months really gone so quickly? It seems like just yesterday that we were landing in Singapore. I want to cry at the thought of your English weather but before I do let me tell you about the city by the bay...

San Fran is a great place. It couldn't be more different to L.A., which is huge, designed around everyone having a car and all seems to have been built in that last 50 years. Frisco (a term for the place the locals hate, apparently) is much older and smaller, the entire city would fit into the car park of any L.A. shopping mall. It's also built on some of the most unsuitable land imaginable; it's streets are ridiculously steep. Imagine a city built up the sides of Ben Nevis and you're close. Baldwin Street in Dunedin may officially be the world's steepest but San Francisco has hundreds that must run it close.

We've spent our time here doing all of the tourist 'must do's'; we drove over the Golden Gate bridge (twice), then photographed it, we drove down Lombard Street (the most crooked street in the world, full of pointless hairpin bends), we visited Coit tower (a strange thermos flask in concrete that gives you good views over the bay when the weather's good. Sadly when we scaled it the weather was rubbish and we couldn't even see the bridge) and we took a ride on a cable car. We also wandered around pier 39 (an expensive tourist trap but good for presents for nieces) but our favourite part of our time here has to be the day we spent in prison.

Before you panic, contact the British embassy and send us cakes with files in them, the prison in question has been closed for many years. It is of course Alcatraz. The place is now a national park and we took a boat trip there to spend some time behind bars. The place is fascinating; as you wander around you get a commentary from former inmates and guards about life on the rock. We learnt many interesting facts about the place but the strangest thing is that it's so close to the heart of a major city. Inmates told stories of how they could hear the New Year's Eve parties at the yacht club across the bay, tantalisingly close but out of reach. Alcatraz must have worked superbly to break the spirit of it's inmates as everything about it taunts you, saying 'you're never getting out of here'.

So, having made it off 'the rock' in one piece, it's time to return home. We've had a fantastic time and we still can't believe our trip's over, but sadly it is. It'll be nice to see you all again and we can always console ourselves by planning our next adventure; there's still so much of the world we haven't seen yet. For now we've got the small matter of paying for this jaunt to concern ourselves with, but one day...

See you soon (in about 18 hours to be precise)

Richard and Elaine
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