United States

Here you’ll find travel reports about Alcatraz. Discover travel destinations in the United States of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

65 travelers at this place:

  • Day28


    November 29, 2016 in the United States

    Ein paar Tage zuvor habe ich Maria aus Dänemark kennengelernt und nach ein paar netten Gespräche haben wir entschieden am 29.11 zusammen nach Alcatraz zu fahren. Als wir nun am Morgen zuvor besprachen wie wir dorthin kommen wollten, sprach uns ein Junge, Fabian aus Frankreich an, dass er unser Gespräch gehört hätte und er würde zur gleichen Zeit auch nach Alcatraz fahren. Also haben wir uns zusammen getan. Da wir uns, wie bei mir schon die Wochen vorher, die Kosten für den Bus sparen wollten sind wir morgens um 7:45 los Richtung Pier 33 gelaufen. Da die Alcatraz Touren immer total überfüllt sind haben wir uns dazu entschieden, das "early bird" ticket um 8.45 zu nehmen. Viel zu früh für mich aber dafür war es angenehm leer. Auf Alcatraz angekommen haben wir eine Audio-tour gemacht, welche wirklich äußerst gut war, da ehemalige Gefangene und Wärter von ihren Erfahrungen und Erlebnissen berichtet haben. Ich war zuerst hin und her gerissen, ob ich nach Alcatraz fahren sollte oder nicht und ob sich das lohnen würde aber im nachhinein kann ich sagen, dass es sich vollkommen gelohnt hat. Die Audio-tour war einfach super und auch Alcatraz an sich war unglaublich interessant. Anschließend haben wir drei uns die Seerobben angeguckt und dann haben sich unsere Wege getrennt. Maria wollte noch unbedingt auf einer Fähre zur Golden Gate Bridge und ich wollte noch zum Ferry Building und seinem Foodmarket. Da Fabian nichts anderes vor hatte hat er sich mir angeschlossen und wir sind zusammen an den Pieren entlang geschlendert. Das Ferry Building war an sich recht schön, aber leider war der "foodmarket" kein wirklicher Markt. Es war nur eine große Halle mit einigen Ständen, die Essen verkauft haben. Daher war ich etwas enttäuscht, da ich davon ausgegangen war, dass es soetwas wie unser Wochenmarkt ist. Danach sind wir nur noch ein bisschen rum geschlendert, haben in der Sonne gesessen und sind dann später wieder zurück zum Hostel.Read more

  • Day5

    Road to Alcatraz

    October 6, 2016 in the United States

    In 2012 when we first visited San Fransisco we were unable to get tickets for Alcatraz cause it was fully booked.
    This time around we made sure we book tickets in advance, however what we did not do, is plan our commute from San Jose to Pier 33 in San Fransisco (where the Alcatraz ferry leaves from) in advance .

    Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, but this morning it didn't.
    First we used google maps to estimate what time to leave the house which did not give us a good estimate, then we used uber to order a taxi which was supposed to be 4 min but took 8 min to get to us.
    Then when we got to the train station there were very limited signs that indicated which trains go where and what time they leave as all of this info is now on an "App". After downloading the App and getting help from a random Afrikaans speaking fellow South African who lives in San Jose we realized there was no way we will make it in time for the ferry. Isabel then tried calling Alcatraz to find-out if they will allow us on the next ferry, but was unable to get to a person to speak to, only a computer who could only confirm that there was still space on the next ferry Oct 6th 2017. LOL

    The only other option was to try a taxi which will potentially get us there in time depending on traffic. We already purchased one way tickets at this point, Isabel amazingly walked up to people who were waiting in the queue to buy train tickets and sold our one way tickets for a 25 cent profit. 😜

    We eventually arrived 10 minutes late for the ferry with an uber taxi, but were lucky enough to get onto the next one.

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  • Day5


    October 6, 2016 in the United States

    A San Fran must do!! Usually history (especially American history) bore us a fair bit, but Alcatraz was truly made live, the entire tour was interactive & made it a really fun experience. We also had magnificent views of the bay and the airshow that is currently held.

    Some cool facts about Alcatraz
    1.Al Capone played banjo in the inmate band.

    2.There were no confirmed prisoner escapes from Alcatraz

    3. Alcatraz is named for sea birds.
    Before criminals became its denizens, the windswept island was home to large colonies of brown pelicans. Alcatraz is the Spanish for Island of the Pelicans

    4. In spite of his nickname, the “Birdman of Alcatraz” had no birds in the prison.

    5. After the prison stood dormant for six years, Native American activists occupied Alcatraz.

    6. It was the first named lighthouse in the Pacific

    7.Military prisoners were Alcatraz’s first inmates.

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  • Day87

    San Fransisco

    May 16, 2017 in the United States

    We arrived into San Fransisco just after lunch, driving across Bay bridge we could see golden gate in the distance and the city an ecclectic mix of 20th century buildings and sky scrappers. The air stank of weed having just been legalised in November, and more than a few eccentric homless wandered the streets.

    First thing first was to grab a new phone for James and I bought a pair of jeans to fit in with the locals. As it fell dark we explored china town to find its streets empty apart from the lanterns criss crossing the streets. Stopping to eat at a tripadvisor find we had yummy burgers.

    Next day we hopped onto a cable car (a tram) at its table turn in Powell Street. Vintage looking with staff with colourfull and loud personalities we had fun running up and down the steep San Fransiscan hills down to Fisherman's warf.

    Exploring the wharf area we had a quick look at pier 39 (very touristy) before Brunch in a cafe James loved from a previous visit! Eating quickly we then made our way to pier 33 for a cruise to Alcatraz. A grey misty day the island looked forbidding in the bay.

    Our first place to visit wad the industries building which had a photo exihbition about the last day of the prison. Outside stood a park ranger who gave a hilarious talk about the known escape attempts from the prison. Up the hill a audio tour took you around the prison buildings, past the isolation block, through the "gen pop" blocks to the officer rooms.

    By some miracle we were let off the island and continued to explore the cheap eats around the hostel, this time a slice of pizza which when it came was as big as my head. Supersize US!
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  • Day35

    Angel Island/ Arcatraz

    July 20, 2017 in the United States

    Today we went on a ferry to go to Angel Island and Alcatraz. Angel island was an immigration center and Alcatraz was a prison that closed down in 1969. First we stopped in Angel Island. We had 2 hours on Angel Island and for the first hour, because there was not enough space on the tram, we ate lunch. I had a turkey corn dog, it was yummy. Then we went to the mini museum. I learned that the 3 escapees from Arcatraz used a boat and apparently landed here. Then, for the second hour, we got on the tram. It was very chilly outside, around 14 c, the wind was strong and I was sooo cold! We didn't see any animals on the tour, but we had a beautiful view. Then, the 2 hours were done. We got on the same ferry and we drank hot chocolate because my teeth were chattering!!! When we reached Alcatraz, there was a scary photo of a prisoner. It said William G. Baker. "Meet him in the book store". Because Alcatraz closed down in 1969, I thought they were joking and it was fake. But Wendy, a lady who works there said that William (Bill) was a prisoner here in Arcatraz and you could meet him. I got super terrified and didn't want to go upstairs to meet him, but realised he has to be a good man or else he wouldn't be an author and be with us. Then, we went on a 45 minute walking tour and I learned that 14 people tried to escape but only 3 people did escape. Then, we got to see inside the cells, the shower, kitchen, and lots more with an audio tour. We got to see the actual dummy heads that was used for the escape. It was creepy and I couldn't believe that the officers thought the dummy heads were real heads. I saw the author and realised he was 80 when he wrote that book. Alcatraz was a scary prison. Then on the way back, I got a cute unicorn novelty hat!!! I love it❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️Read more

  • Day35


    July 20, 2017 in the United States

    Today we went to Angel Island and Alcatraz. First we went to Angel Island. Everyone was supposed to go on a tram and go around the island but the group was too big so we had to wait for the first group. Each tram ride is one hour so we had to wait for 1 hour. We ate lunch and went to a tiny nearby museum. Me and Maya had a corn dog and mammy and daddy had a tuna sandwich. I wanted to cycle but mammy and daddy said that we will cycle another day. The first group came back so we rode the tram and went around Angel Island. There were speakers on top of our trams so an audio tour tape was rolling. We rode on the tram for about 15 minutes then stopped. The driver said that this place is a good stop for photos. The view was great! So we rode on the tram for a few minutes then went back to the start point. We rode the ferry to Alcatraz. It was freezing so me and Maya got hot chocolate. At Alcatraz, we met Wendy (the park ranger) who said that we could do a walking tour and an audio tour. We did the walking tour that was for 45 minutes. During the tour, about 22 seagulls became crazy just because of a juvenile gull!
    We went to the place where they did the audio tour. We were actually in the prison building! Inside a few of the cells, we saw dummy heads of the people that escaped Alcatraz. Here is the history stuff: The chief officer got a call from the other officers. The officers said that there was an escape. The chief ran to the prison and saw the dummy heads. The officers thought it was a real head until one of the heads fell off.
    We went to the bookstore and saw a person who was a prisoner in Alcatraz for bank robbing. He is an author now, and he wrote a book about his life. It seemed interesting so I bought the book. I hope that we can come to Alcatraz again.
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  • Day20

    Alcatraz and last minute sight seeing

    April 18, 2017 in the United States

    We toured to Alcatraz this morning and it didn't disappoint ! Really interesting tour. We explored the island from all view points !

    The history is really interesting and the audio jail tour was really informative. Something I'm glad we did! The panoramic view back towards San Francisco from the island were amazing and we've had awesome weather today !!!

    Went to Hard Rock Cafe for lunch and our shared entree could have been our main .... think we will roll out of San Francisco.... meal was delicious though, we even spoilt ourselves with a beer and cocktail. Chads steak was half the plate and a good 1.5cm thick !

    We then Caught a cab with I feel may have been a psycho cab driver who didn't like asians on bikes too much ... up to Lombard Street. A peculiar street dubbed one of the crookedest in the world..... we watched the cars travelling through and maybe of more entertainment was the number of tourists that nearly got run over trying to take photos mid street :) there were even monks photographing the quaint tourist spot.

    Fortunately as we were now uphill we strolled back to down town for Chads ice cream of the day :) this time we went to Ben and Jerry's!!! Did I mention we are rolling out of San Francisco?

    That reminds me speaking of watching tourists get run over by a car .... ask Chad about how he nearly got me killed last night whilst trying to point out the array of strip clubs near little Italy ....

    Down at fisherman wharf there are so many things besides the touristy attractions to look at..... the array of different personalities, nationalities and lifestyles all coming together. The homeless looking for money and openly saying it was to buy their weed..... (you can smell that stuff everywhere here) ...... street entertainers from singers, break dancers, musicians, clowns to not white sure what ....

    Chad got pulled over by someone today and told he was receiving an official warning for smiling too much and being too affectionate with his wife ..... we thought the guy was serious at first .... until he introduced himself formally and he was raising money for the soup kitchen of which we had seen in action in our stay.....

    Last of the day my friend google had showed me some mosaic stairs put together by a community of 200 neighbours ..... google looked impressively so we thought we would check it out before calling a day on San Fran......
    well the taxi driver had never been asked to go there in the ten years he had been driving ..... and so a $60 cab fare and a few wrong turn laters we found them and they were beautiful.......not to mention the rewarding view we had of the back end of San Francisco over looking the Pacific Ocean.

    So all in all San Francisco was Spectacular ! My new favourite word!!!! I hope to be back here again one day !!
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  • Day12


    May 18 in the United States

    Heute waren wir im wohl bekanntesten Gefängnis der Welt.
    Die Gefängnisinsel fungierte von 1934 bis 1963 als eines der zu der Zeit bekanntesten und berüchtigtsten Hochsicherheitsgefängnisse der USA.
    Mit Audio Guide wurden wir innerhalb von knapp zwei Stunden durch das gesamte Gelände geführt. Einige bekannte Gangster wie Al Capone, Robert Franklin "The Bird" Stroud, Machine Gun Kelly, Alvin „Creepy“ Karpis oder der deutsche Spion Erich Gimpel wurden uns "vorgestellt".
    Im Jahr 1962 verschwanden die Insassen Frank Morris und die beiden Brüder John und Clarence Anglin aus ihren Zellen...Ihre Leichen wurden nie gefunden; das Gerücht einer erfolgreichen Flucht hält sich bis heute. 😉
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  • Day4

    Day 4 - A Mission and A Prison

    September 11, 2016 in the United States

    We left the comfortablish 'Comfort Inn' early morning and headed straight for San Francisco. The scenery on Highway 1 from here was not as dramatic as yesterday but there were still beautiful little pockets. There was the cycling stage of an Iron Man taking place on either side of the road which was both impressive for its endurance and annoying when taking photos.

    Luckily our accommodation was just off the highway once we reached San Francisco and we didn't have to go anywhere near the centre. We dropped the car off there and ventured into the area we were staying in, Mission District. There is an abundance of taquerias and local breweries on the main throughfare here, Mission Street. On first reflection the area feels like Dalston in London with a Mexican twist. We headed to the T-Mobile shop as our first essential purchase was a WiFi hotspot so that we were near an internet connection at all times. Phew!

    After a quick rest we headed out again, taking the subway this time. The subway was just how I imagined an American subway to be, just the right side of sinister and depressing. I blame movies from the 70s and 80s when the only reason to feature a subway scene was to involve crime or stress loneliness. The incredibly soulful singing by a blind homeless person by the ticket machines didn't help. We managed to go the wrong way on the subway, classic tourist mistake, but we got to our destination with plenty of time to spare. We were to go on a night tour of Alcatraz!

    The approach to the island involved a mini tour round the island before docking. The surrounding mist added to the atmosphere and I managed to get my first glimpse of the bridges that connect San Franciso. Although the Golden Gate Bridge grabs the headlines, the Bay Bridge is just as imposing due to its length. I can't wait to see more of them whilst we're here. Anyway, back to the prison. There was a large group of us following a tour guide but as we entered the main block we were each given individual audio guides which was a clever way of slowly filtering people through the prison. The various famous episodes that took place were explained in detail by inmates and guards who were present in the prison when it was active. The escape attempt and armed siege that happened here were brought to life by focusing on a particular cell that involved the inmate in question or the event. Towards the end we were led outside which by now was dark and the vista of the city and the bridges all lit up was worth the night tour alone. A powerful image of opportunity and fun within sight. I was glad I was heading back to the mainland.

    What better way to celebrate our freedom and liberty then by eating burger and fries! Alice and I had heard nothing but good things about 'In and Out Burger'. It's a fast food burger, it was cheap and it was OK. Alice saw that people were having the 'Animal Fries' which I think is the main attraction. She'll try and get that before we leave California. With bellies full it was time for bed.

    Song of the Day:
    Scott McKenzie - If You're Going To San Francisco
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