Friday, 17 June 2011

San Francisco: Cable Car, Alcatraz, Fishermans Wharf and Lombard Street.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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A superb audio tour guides you through the prison, retelling stories and explaining how the prison worked.

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There are lovely views from Alcatraz looking back to San Francisco.P1010810_078P1010812_080

Back on the mainland we wandered around to the bustling Fishermans Wharf at Pier 39,

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and spent a while looking at the sea lions.

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I then went for a wander to Lombard Street to obverse the silliness of this road.

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We the headed back to town on the cable car.

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