22.01.2010 - 22.01.2010
- l would just like to note that l have been in America for three days and l still haven't had breakfast.
Unlike the two previous days, the rain started to depart and for the first time since l arrived in San Fran l actually managed a glimpse of the sun. Not taking any risks, Allie and l cruised through the "friendly" Tenderloin District and on towards Embarcedaro Avenue.
Today was definitely going to be the touristy day out of my first three days in San Francisco. First stop the Ferry building. Historically the Ferry building was the first point of entry onto San Francisco's shores for workers and gold miners alike http://www.ferrybuildingmarketplace.com/history2.php. Nowadays after a few touch ups both inside and out the building now hosts a multitude of very different and interesting food stores and cafes, not to forget a Farmers Markets on Saturday.
After departing from the Ferry Building, we headed west along Embarcedero towards the popular Fisherman's Wharf. Despite the sun, it was still quite cold so we walked hastily until we finally arrived at Pier 39. Being a major tourist destination it was very commercialised but still managed to keep some of it's charm. Walking past and glimpsing in the odd souvenir store, we finally made it the part of pier 39 that l really wanted to see, the marina where normally hundreds of sea lions camp out. But today there were only a handful. Either way it was an incredible sight to see wild sea lions so close to civilisation.
Now l was starving and Allie had the perfect place in mind, Boudin. Boudin wasn't just a regular bakery. lt has been said that the San Franciscan air mixing with the yeast and creates a unique tangy taste. Earlier that day Allie had told me that they make an awesome New England clam chowder, but what she had forgotten to tell me was that the pour the chowder into a massive sourdough bread roll...amazing! It was the perfect lunch to warm me up on the brisk winter day.
A three day stay in San Francisco would not be complete without going to Alcatraz aka The Rock. So Allie and l met up with a few of her friends and took the ferry over. While on the ferry we were given a brief history of the transition the Alcatraz island has gone through. Originally it served as a lighthouse for ships navigating there way into San Francisco Bay after night fall, then because San Francisco Bay was seen as an easy target for invasion during the war it was fortified and turned into a military base. When fees to upkeep the Rock became to high, Alcatraz became the most renowned high security prison in the world holding such criminals as Al Capone and Robert " the birdman" Stroud. But after years of holding some of America's most violent criminals it too became to expensive to run and was left to become a National Park site and a heavily visited tourist destination.
Getting off the ferry, l experienced an eerie feel what previous prisoners may have felt looking up at the fortified prison where it was impossible to escape. To make matters worse there were areas where prisoners could actually see the bustling San Francisco and often hear the city folk as an extra tease.
Walking through the self guided prison it was easy to see how mentally restraining it would have been on both the prisoners and the guards over the years. It was fascinating to hear prisoner recollections during time spent there and the sometimes ludicrous escape attempts. Overall Alcatraz was an experience to remember.