Friday, January 14, 2011

Al Capone shines my shoes.

Not really because he's dead. And even if he were alive, he probably wouldn't.

However, this is a great children's book, set on Alcatraz.

It was really becoming embarrassing, this having lived in the Bay Area off and on for 35 years, and never having been. And so I found a friend with the same predicament and we went!

Alcatraz is a quick ferry ride over from San Francisco's Pier 33, one with stunning Bay and city views. My friend and I took the audio tour, which wound through the former cell house and onto the exercise grounds. The view is incredible; we went on a bitterly cold and clear day.

Things I learned:
  • The food there was so good that the guards and prisoners ate it.
  • There were 1,576 men who served time at Alcatraz during the 29 years it was open.
  • The worst of the worst were sent to Alcatraz.
  • Only one escape attempt was successful; three men left the island on a life raft made of raincoats. They have never been found.
  • It closed because it was too expensive to upkeep.
  • Entire families lived on Alcatraz: the warden's family, the guards' families. It had its own Officer's Club.
The audio tour is well done, just long enough to go through the history but not so long that you're bored.

I'll take the kids and Dave next time.

Next on my list: walking across the Golden Gate Bridge.

3 comments:

Postcards From The Hedge said...

Alcatraz sounds awesome. We will finally go.

Bike across the Golden Gate instead of walking - Much more exciting. Then take the ferry back to the city. After a bayside lunch.

Sara said...

EVERY day on Alcatraz is bitterly cold! Glad you finally made it to "The Rock". One of my mom's friends in high school lived on Alcatraz. Her father was a guard there and she rode the ferry to the city every day to get to school - can you imagine?!

Thom Singer said...

I wish we had time to take the kids to Alcatraz when we are in SF next month... but we wont be able to on this trip.