some might find it cheesy or too touristy, but one of the coolest things i've done in san francisco was a visit to alcatraz island. they offer over a dozen tours each day but during the high season (now), it's nearly impossible to get a day-of ticket, or even one for the next following days. last august, i tried booking nearly a week in advance and it was still sold out! lesson learned: book early.
the tour is really fun: you start off by taking a boat from pier 33 and getting a great view of the city from behind, the rock in front and the golden gate bridge behind it. everyone disembarks, and after a not-so-brief "the bathrooms are located here...you can watch a video here....the steps are steep...." speech, you're on your own to reach the top of the rock and head into the cell house. an audio guide comes with your $26 admission price and it's awesome. you get your audio guide as you walk in and for the next hour, i was pretty enraptured by the voices in the guide and the stories told. i also recommend watching the short video they offer before you head up to the cell house -- good info and really get's you into the prison spirit!
i took off my headphones a few times just to hear what was going on outside of the guide and silence. you're in the cell house with many people (i know each boat held a couple hundred people), yet everyone is so engrossed in their audio tour ("now walk over to cell number 307 and look inside...this is where..."), it's a rather peaceful place to be!
very, very cool. i give it 5 out of 5 ipods.
|hannah testing out solitary confinement|