For our first full day in San Francisco, we wandered down to the corner of Powell Street and Market Street and bought a 3-day Passport from the ticket office for US$20 that entitled us to use the cable car, light rail and buses as much as we wanted.
We then joined the line for the Powell Street/Market Street cable car and watched as the cable cars arrived and were then changed to a different track via a very manual approach of a turntable and people dragging the car.
We got a seat on the outside of the car with the driver behind us, which made for an excellent view and also a great commentary from the driver. The car we were in was from the 1880’s (or thereabouts) and it is operated through connecting to a cable and disconnecting at times too, such as when going downhill.
The cable car we were on concluded at Taylor Street and we then wandered down to the waterfront and then along to Pier 33 to pick up our Online pre-purchased tickets to Alcatraz.
The boat trip to Alcatraz only takes about 10 minutes and commences after you have been herded like sheep and then had your photo taken with a fake painted backdrop of Alcatraz. Needless to say, we did not purchase the photo on our return.
When you arrive on the Island, a briefing occurs that covers a little bit of history and where you need to go. The walk up to the Main prison takes about 5-10 minutes and has a beautiful outlook.
A superb audio tour guides you through the prison, retelling stories and explaining how the prison worked.
Back on the mainland we wandered around to the bustling Fishermans Wharf at Pier 39,
and spent a while looking at the sea lions.
I then went for a wander to Lombard Street to obverse the silliness of this road.
We the headed back to town on the cable car.