The road from Yosemite National Park to San Francisco has once again led to an undisturbed landscape. We came to San Francisco from the direction of Oakland through the Bay Bridge. My girlfriend, however, originally thought that we are going through the famous Golden Gate Bridge, which just painted to silver 🙂 We paid $6 for crossing the bridge.
We arrived in San Francisco relatively early, but it took us a long time before we could find a reasonable place to stop where we could find accommodation. On the way, of course, we went up and down the hilly bumpy roads that are actually even steeper than they seem to be from the movies. My girlfriend was once more funny to name these roads as “Californian roller coasters” 🙂
To our bad luck we came to San Francisco when there was a big conference, so all the better accommodation was sold out. And where it was not sold out, there were very high bonuses just for the conference, so even for a very nasty accommodation they demanded $200 a night, which we definitely did not want. So we tried to call some hotels, but we mostly found either a non-existent number or just an automatic reservation system.
Accommodate your stay in San Francisco in advance so that it does not happen to be filled for very frequent conferences.
On the internet, we found Winsor Hotel. So we went there. But we had a very unpleasant surprise, as the “hotel” was in a black neighborhood, where everywhere was mess, homeless, and strange individuals and street urine smell. Really bad experience. Outside of the hotel, there was not place to stop, so while I went to find accommodation options, my girlfriend waited in the car right on the street.
The hotel was in an old row building with grilles at the front door. The room was disastrous and extremely tiny. From the window we looked into the pipes and the opposite buildings. The whole building was a strange smell, and the bathroom and toilet were shared to the whole floor.
Early in the morning, we headed to the Coit Tower on the Telegraph Hill. Since 2008, Coit Tower has been registered in the National Register of Historic Places. When we reached it, we found out that it was still closed. However, the area around the lookout tower was a beautiful view of San Francisco and the Bay of San Francisco.
From Coit Tower, we headed for the Alcatraz Island Departure at Pier 33, where sailboats sail towards Alcatraz. Here we have confirmed what we have previously found on the Internet – tickets are sold for more than a month in advance. The tickets were sold not only for entering the Alcatraz tour, but also for cruising around the island.
Alcatraz tours must be registered at least one to two months in advance, otherwise they are sold out.
Alcatraz was originally a beacon, then became a military fortification to defend San Francisco. In 1868 he was rebuilt to a military prison and from 1933 to 1963 he served as a known and feared federal prison. Since 1986, Alcatraz has been a national historical monument.
The Alcatraz Prison was designed for the hardest criminals. The prison guard was one of the hardest. There was no rehabilitation or re-socialization for the prisoners here. The imprisoned here were the most famous prisoners of American history, including the famous gangster from Al Capone’s Chicago underworld.
Prisons were built here with the highest security. In connection with the prison location on a separate island of San Francisco Bay 2 km from the nearest mainland with cold water and strong currents, the prison was considered to be the safest in the US and was the scourge of all criminals.
No successful attempts to escape are known during the 29-year operation of the federal prison. A total of 36 inmates attempted 14 escapes, two of them twice. 23 of them were captured alive, 6 of them shot during an escape attempt, two drowned and five of them were missing and probably drowned.
So we went along the coast to see Alcatraz at least from the mainland. We continued to Pier 45 called Historic Pier.
At Historic Pier, two warships are moored. The first is a submarine, but we were not interested in for the cost $8 for a student and $12 for an adult. The second vessel is the ship S.S. Jeremiah O’Brien from the Second World War, which is huge. The admission was the same as the submarine, so we clearly voted the ship.
The ship is really beautiful. The whole is open to the public, so anyone can go deck, take a look at the rooms, the kitchen, the captain’s bridge, but also bellow the deck and the engine section. The advantage is that there are no bulk tours, so everyone can go whenever and wherever they want.
Right on the ship there is a crew that is original! There are the elderly people who really served on the ship in the Second World War. They are very willing about anything you can ask, and they are happy to explain everything.
Interestingly, the Titanic was filmed on this ship. Titanic’s engine parts were shot in the engine part of the ship, only then the filmmakers “cloned” the engine because Titanic had bigger engines.
The experience was great for us and we recommend a visit to this ship. There is also a museum in the deck.
We just took Golden Gate Bridge from Municipal Pier and set off along the Pacific Ocean in the direction of Monterey where we had another accommodation.