San Francisco, CA
July 3rd & 4th
We’d been late to bed the night before so made a very slow start to the day. Mark and I eventually headed out for a walk to Whole-foods to get a few grocery items. This place leaves DJs food hall for dead!
Mark and Tom then bought Muni passes and headed out, by bus, to ‘Best Buy’ about 10 min west of the city. Tom made his purchase of an “elgato”. I still don’t understand what it does, but…. he was happy so that’s the main thing.
We’d planned to take the 4.30 pm walking tour of North Beach (Little Italy) but apparently we were given the wrong time information and it actually left at 3 pm! This proved to be rather fortunate for me as it meant I had time to look at Macy’s before our dinner with Anne-Louise and Jackson ( niece and nephew). I found two pairs of shoes that suit my chemo damaged feet so I was very happy.
We had a 5 min walk from Macy’s up to ‘Hops and Hominy’. A trendy place tucked down a narrow lane and frequented mostly by locals from SF. (http://hopsandhominy.com/). We had a great time chatting and catching up with each other and discussing their latest travels and work stories. After dinner we walked back to our apartment for a night cap before turning in at around 10 pm.
The plan for our morning was to visit Alcatraz on the 10 am Ferry. I’d booked this some weeks ago. The ferries for Alcatraz leave from Pier 33 and we caught the Powell St cable car to get down to the harbour front. The ferry trip takes 12 minutes and the Golden Gate was shrouded in fog….yet again.
An audio guide is included in the ticket price and is narrated by a number of previous prison officers and inmates. The tour lasts about an hour and takes you through the cell block. It was quite interesting but not nearly as moving an experience as that of touring Robben Island – in Cape Town SA.
Alcatraz has been put to a variety of uses through out its history: as a military fort, a Civil War prison, the sight of landmark Indigenous Indian protests and as a Federal prison. The latter being the most popularly known of all uses.
We caught the 12.25 pm ferry back to SF and walked down to Fishermans Wharf and Pier 43 1/2 for lunch. It was very busy, as you’d expect being Independence Day, but we were lucky enough to get a good table with a view out to Alcatraz at ‘The Franciscan Crab Restaurant’. Mark and I shared a platter including some crab as it seemed the thing to do here.
The Powell St cable car was only a few blocks up from the restaurant so we headed there after lunch to make our way home. We had a long wait given the day but also due to a cable car breakdown but, luckily, ‘Socks from San Francisco’ was there busking the blues away to entertain us whilst we waited. A cable car eventually arrived and we made it home by about 3pm and Mark and I headed back out to do a little more damage at Macy’s. It’s hard when temptation is right across the road and ‘4th July’ sales are on!
We spent the rest of the night at home looking out at the hive of activity in the streets below and glad we weren’t part of it.