In San Francisco one of the staple go-to sights for visitors is Alcatraz Island. After living there for 3 years I finally got to go when a friend came to visit. It is a very popular sight and you need to take a ferry to get there, which means tickets can sell out very quickly. This is the reason why I always suggest that people purchase the tickets before they come to San Francisco, just to be on the safe side. Also, I didn’t realize how chilly San Francisco can be, especially on a small island in the water like Alcatraz where the wind can get very strong. I learned many locals say that you should always dress in layers when in San Francisco, and this is especially true for the trip out to Alcatraz Island.
Alcatraz Island is basically only a tourist attraction at this point but it is still eerie walking around the empty jail facilities. However, they did leave certain artifacts or rooms as-is for people to see, and get a better feel of what it was like when it was still in use. As part of the package each visitor is given a headset that acts as the audio tour-guide through the facility, telling you about the history and even about some of the more notorious inmates as you make your way around the island.
In college I learned about a Native American occupation protest back in the early 1970s where they stayed on the island for quite some time. I was surprised to see that the painted message I saw in my textbook was still on the water tank today. What did surprise me, however, was that the occupation protest was not even mentioned in the audio-tour.
I love taking photos and took many through my walk across Alcatraz island. But, when my friend saw this photo she told me she heard a superstition that those white circles that can appear in photos like this one are ghost’s spirits. That surprised me, especially since this is a notorious prison, so hopefully no one followed us home. I’ve watched a few too many reality ghost-hunting TV shows.
The tour basically sends you in a circle through the grounds, so you end up getting a beautiful view of downtown San Francisco as you make your way back down towards the ferry. San Francisco is notoriously foggy but you might get luck with nicer weather like we did!