Friday, March 5, 2010

Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay

My wife and I went to San Francisco to visit our daughter and her family. Although we live in Southern California, we are no strangers to the city because it was our port of entry when we came to the US as immigrants, and we stayed here for sometime until we decided to move to Southern California. Our daughter opted to go to law school here, fell in love with the city and after getting her degree, decided to call hilly San Francisco home.

We've been visiting for three days already before we even thought of going out of the house and checking some interesting sights, one of which is Alcatraz Island, a former federal penitentiary. I have been to the island before (not as a prisoner!) but my wife and grandson have not seen the place yet. I thought they'll like it - my grandson did, but my wife is not too thrill visiting an ertswhile prison.

From Wikipedia:

Alcatraz Island is an island located in the San Francisco Bay, 1.5 miles (2.4 km) offshore from San Francisco, California.[1] Often referred to as The Rock, the small island early-on served as a lighthouse, a military fortification, a military prison, and a Federal Bureau of Prisons federal prison until 1963.[2] Later, in 1972, Alcatraz became a national recreation area and received landmarking designations in 1976 and 1986.
Today, the island is a historic site operated by the National Park Service as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and is open to tours. Visitors can reach the island by ferry ride from Pier 33, near Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. In 2008 the nation's first hybrid propulsion ferry started serving the island.[3] Alcatraz has been featured in many movies, TV shows, cartoons, books, comics, and games.

Where we boarded the boat to go to the island

Alcatraz as seen from our approaching boat

Island greeter in her odd-looking custume



One of the entrances to the prison building

Shower room

Typical prison cell

Isolation cell for unruly prisoners

Kitchen area

Prison library



Visitor area

Recreation yard

I am glad the Welcome Home sign is in the city not at Alcatraz when it was still functioning as a federal prison.

24 comments:

Sidney said...

Amazing place... actually I am surprised they closed it. Why go to Cuba if you have Alcatraz! ;-)

bertN said...

Sidney, you are right!

docgelo said...

thanks for sharing this, bert!
when we toured san francisco for 3 days of our 22-day-US trip several years ago, tickets to alcatraz were all sold out so it goes without saying we missed the experience!
we settled with the fisherman's wharf, pier 39 and yes, clam chowder! there are a ton of reasons to visit this place again and again. we'll do, bullet day (balang-araw!)

BlogusVox said...

It looks eerie to me. Probable because in my mind a few "celebrities" once called it their home. Maybe they should liven it up a little by introducing Starbucks or McDo somewhere. : )

dodong flores said...

Hello, Mang BertN!
This tour in your blog post is I think much better than what I used to see in the movie The Rock. A typical prison cell is not clearly shown in there (I guess...). Nice photos as always...

qoute I am glad the Welcome Home sign is in the city not at Alcatraz when it was still functioning as a federal prison. unqoute. Funny, Hehehe...

Hilda said...

Thank you for the tour of Alcatraz, Bert. I wish it could say that it was wonderful, but it is such a sad and eerie place. And yes, I agree with you about the placement of the welcome home sign!

The Nomadic Pinoy said...

I've been here before (not as a prisoner too hahaha!) but just couldn't remember it right if there are evening "ghost" tours?

bing said...

i think i will be scared to go there though it would be interesting, too. it looks like a gloomy place. wonder if the ghosts were watching everybody who's visiting he he

Missy said...

I've never been to the island itself although I've been to Fisherman's wharf and downtown San Francisco. I was contented of taking pictures overlooking Alcatraz hehehe. I remember the movie "the rock" which was my first time to actually see inside it hehehe. Thanks for sharing I hope someday we could visit San Francisco again and try to see Alcatraz too. I miss CA now ;-)

bertN said...

docgelo, it is now easier to visit Alcatraz. I agree, there's a ton of reasons to keep coming back to San Francisco.

BlogusVox, they have a Starbucks but it is at the city-side dock.

dodong flores, thanks!

Hilda, it was indeed a sad and eerie place...for those who were imprisoned there.

The Nomadic Pinoy, you are right, there are evening tours. I may give it a shot another time.

bing, it is a gloomy place but I do not know if there are ghosts watching the visitors, If there are, they are probably departed prison guards and not inmates LOL.

Missy, I'm sure you will revisit San Francisco. There is something about the city that beckons visitors to come back, time and time again.

Reena said...

my brother had a chance to visit san francisco. sana pala he went there too. the place looks good as a historical site. hehe. pero i bet the place feels creepy. i'm not sure i will take a photo inside too. haha

Dennis Villegas said...

wow thanks for the virtual tour, Bert. Galing...ngayon ko lang nakita ito...pero marami na akong napanood na pelikula about this prison...

Bravo!

June (An Asian Traveler) said...

Interesting! I want to visit this place someday.

Ebie said...

We took the boat tour instead of this when we visited SFO a few years ago. I wished I had done this. Beautiful photos you shared.

bertN said...

Reena, your brother probably saw a lot more interesting places in San Francisco than Alcatraz. It is sort of a creepy place, I'll say.

Dennis Villegas, something to see because of its notoriety LOL.

June, thanks for dropping by. It is worth seeing.

Ebie, Alcatraz will be there the next time you visit.

Photo Cache said...

I've never been there myself, that's the problem with being locals.

Great shots.

sheng said...

Uhuh, i dunno why they closed it, might watch Escape from Alcatraz anytime soon, just to find out.

bertN said...

Photo Cache, I know the feeling. Talaga 'atang ganyan - they are there and they are not going anywhere, so we take our sweet time to see them.

sheng, I do not know why the authorities decided to close it. I'm sure it is not because they are running short of "clients." The reason is probably more economic in nature.

rolly said...

The place has too much history. Is it true that no one ever escaped the Rock? It's what it's called right? Great pictures.

EastCoastLife said...

I have seen Alcatraz Island in many movies and TV programmes. I would love to visit it one day when I tour USA.

I wonder what type of stories one can hear about this place.

dodong flores said...

Hello, Mang BertN. Just dropping by... :)

bertn said...

rolly,all I know is that three prisoners made a go for it but whether they made it or not, I have no idea.

EastCoastLife, it is something to see when you visit San Francisco.

dodong flores, don't get tired dropping by inspite of my infrequent posting. Oldie na kasi tayo LOL.

Peru said...

looks nice. thanks for sharing. i feel like going there now :)

bertN said...

Thanks for your visit!