Last time we visited San Francisco we found out that you cannot simply show up in the city and expect to visit Alcatraz. This time we booked the tickets earlier, but still not early enough: we found tickets only for the day we were supposed to drive back to Richland. Taking into account the long drive, we signed up for the early bird tour. After going to the wrong pier and a little bit of jogging, we made it on board right before they closed the access to the ship.

The weather was good, but the sun was – again – in the wrong spot, which means no good pictures of the city. After we listened to the ranger giving the orientation speech, we saw a short movie depicting the history of The Rock, then we headed to the actual prison. They offered a free audio tour that guided our steps. We saw cells in different states: some completely empty, some prepared for new inmates, some decorated by their inhabitants or (most likely) by some curator. The tour takes you through the dining hall, the library, visitation area, warden’s office, plus you get to peek into the kitchen and in the control room. You hear stories describing prisoner revolts and escape attempts.

It was almost noon when we decided to leave The Rock even though there were parts of the island we did not see. The drive was long and tiring, especially in the north of Oregon, where the night combined with a dense fog to reduce visibility to just a few meters. It was around midnight when we finally made it home.

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This is part of our Thanksgiving trip to San Francisco: Mount Shasta | Presidio | Golden Gate Park | Alcatraz

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