Well, you already know that we woke up before any normal human being should be allowed to wake up for our 6am flight. There is an upside to that, though. We arrived in San Francisco at 10:30am!!
We got to see a pretty fantastic sunrise on our flight out.
It took a while to get off the plane (we were in the second to last seats in the back), we grabbed our luggage and hopped in a cab that took us down to Fisherman's Wharf. We were staying on Hilton points at the Hilton Fisherman's Wharf San Francisco. It's an older hotel but our room was clean, comfortable and a decent size. The hotel front desk staff and the concierge staff were all extremely friendly, helpful and accommodating. It's nice to stay at a hotel where you always feel welcome. This hotel gave us that feeling.
The average King size non-smoking room:
Yes, the TV gets turned on the nano-second we enter any hotel room (not my doing). AND yes, it's tuned to The People's Court (again, not my doing). Side bar: I DESPISE court TV shows. They're such crap. I believe the comment 1 minute after this was, "I know, I know, it was just on when I turned on the TV!" Mmmm hmmm.
After we dropped our bags off and got changed, we walked down to the lobby. I wanted to check with the concierge to see if they had any tickets to Alcatraz. We had tried to buy them at home about a week before the trip. They were sold out for a week and a half. This really bummed Hops out because one of the main things he wanted to do in San Francisco was go to Alcatraz. I was going to make it happen if I could. I chatted with the concierge and lo and behold, she had some tickets for us for ... that day! Yay!! We bought those tickets and we bought tickets to a tour the next day on a double-decker bus. Yes, we had planned on biking the next day but after looking at the weather, we decided to take the double decker bus instead. Best. Decision. Ever.
We left the hotel and went over to the wharf for lunch. Our snacks had held us long enough. we wanted real food! We walked past all of the vendors, smelling the delicious scents. We ended up stopping at one of the restaurants at the wharf (yeah, I forget the name). We got a bread bowl with some clam chowder, a Crab Louie Salad and...Anchor Steam, of course!
From the wharf area, we walked down to Pier 33 to pick up the ferry to Alcatraz. Oh my gosh...the trip over to Alcatraz was sooooo windy and chilly! It was overcast by the coast the whole time we were there so the sun wasn't out to help warm things up. I might have ended up lending my husband my scarf for a portion of Thursday and Friday.
Your eyes immediately go to the blue skies, right? Ok, now look down. Check out the haze over the city. See the layer of fog on the bottom right? That was over where we were, as well. It looks so pretty over there! Come this way!! :)
With the gray skies and the gray look of Alcatraz, I decided to go black and white for our photos of the old prison.
This was as we were coming up to the island.
Once you are inside the prison, there is an audio tour. It is absolutely fantastic. I would definitely suggest it to anyone who has time or any interest in going to Alcatraz. The narrators are prison guards and prisoners from Alcatraz. There is also background noise that makes it sound like prison cells being opened and closed, prison fights and more. All very interesting. I know, a prison cell in pictures really doesn't look that interesting, but I liked the fact that they tried to keep a few in tact for the tour.
I like little doors.
Of course, we had to pretend we were prisoners. Because we're 12. Seriously, though, these solitary confinement cells were right below the windows that led out to the bay. I can't imagine how cold they must have gotten when the winds were blowing fierce through the uninsulated walls and windows. It was cold when we were there and we were in jackets and had our ears covered. Us pretending to be angry prisoners:
Alcatraz showers. No hiding anything in here!!
I'm so glad we got to go on that tour. It was definitely worth it. I would suggest that if you are going to visit San Francisco and all of the online tickets are sold out, that you walk down to Pier 33 to see if they have any tickets available for that day. It may not work if you have a big group but if it's just the two of you or four of you, you may get lucky if you go over early.
Once we were done with the Alcatraz tour, we were pretty spent. It was still early, so we walked back toward Fisherman's Wharf and walked down Pier 39. I figured we had to stop in on the sea lions. We walked past a few restaurants and coffee shops and came to the most fabulous place ever. I'm not joking.
They have mini sugar-covered donuts. Deliciousness. We got a small container of just 5 donuts. We should have gotten the bucket. Or two buckets, considering what we did decide on for dinner. Alas, we continued on past the donuts to the pier where the sea lions were.
They seem to bellow for fun and out of frustration. Either way, so cute.
Smooshed sea lion. He didn't seem to mind much, though. He actually looked pretty comfortable and warm, tucked in beneath the rest of them.
Honestly, by now we were pretty much done for the day. We had been up since 4am and it was 7:30 on the West Coast, so it was acceptable. We headed back to the hotel to think about dinner. When we got there, neither of us were really in the mood to do much. I walked over to the Safeway a few blocks down the road and picked up a bottle of wine. We ordered pizza that was delivered to our room and were asleep before 9pm. It was a good day.