Heath and I were both off on Friday, so we bought tickets to Alcatraz in the morning and planned on hanging out at Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf in the afternoon.
We left Pier 33 on the Alcatraz Tour Cruise at 9:30 am!
Approaching the island.
Alcatraz is now maintained as a national park, so although it's in disrepair from decades of use and neglect, it seems to be getting better. The gardens are still maintained by volunteers, and the structures themselves are intimidating and impressive.
Cellhouse exterior. Alcatraz was never filled to capacity.
General population cells.
Windows facing San Francisco. If the weather and wind were exactly right, the inmates could hear the sounds of the city through these windows. So close and yet so far away...
View of San Francisco from Alcatraz.
Cell staged like one of the escapee's cells, complete with wax/soap head.
Kitchen - the knives were stored with silhouettes painted on the backboard so workers could quickly see if one was missing.
Most of the residences and social buildings were either demolished intentionally or destroyed in fires over the years.
More scenic views
The recreation had a baseball diamond and stone bleachers. If you stand at the top of the bleachers you can see and hear the city across the bay.
Back at Pier 39, looking down from the second level on all the shops and the merry-go-round.
Jenna recommended Boudin's for lunch. They're famous for their sourdough. Tasty AND friendly! ;-)
Sourdough bread bowl with tomato soup!
Sea lions hanging out in one area of the pier.
There were a couple of ships from the WWII era in the dock as well. We didn't pay to go in, but they were pretty impressive from the outside!
Liberty war ship
We only rode the cable cars once (we walked pretty much everywhere). We stopped at the cable car museum, which is also where all four of the functioning lines come back to their driving motors. Being engineers, we were extremely impressed with the ingenuity and creativity of such a complex system!
Cables, motors, and pulleys. Each line has 2 driving wheels and 1 tension wheel, which is pulled taut and moved over time to keep the cable tight. They repair the cables until they have to be replaced in its entirety every 75 to 250 days! That's a lot of cable!