Monday, March 24, 2008

Our Honeymoon - Day 3

November 25, 2007

Today is the day we get to go on the evening tour of Alcatraz.

We have been seeing The Rock for the past two days and were both so excited for the tour. We got up and had the Hampton Inn "free" breakfast again then headed to Peet's for some local coffee. Very delicious! We kept driving so we could find a drugstore for some GOOD shampoo and soap and headed back to the hotel to get ready for our day. We headed back up to The Embarcadero and found a $10/day parking lot, parked for the day, and headed down to the Ferry Building Marketplace to check out the local market. There were plenty of local shops selling wines, cheeses, chocolates, olive oil and even mushrooms. We stood and enjoyed a quartet playing some wonderful classical pieces and enjoyed walking through the market.

We decided it was time to grab some lunch so we headed to Pier 1 and stopped in for some Mexican food at Pancho Villa Taqueria. Lee had the Fajita Burrito w/ Chicken and I had the Chicken Soft Tacos. We enjoyed some fresh chips and salsa as well. The food was unexpectedly incredible! We were so happy we stopped in. After washing our food down with some REAL bottled Coca Colas, we headed across the street to the Arts and Crafts Show that goes on every weekend and showcases local artists and their jewelry, clothing, photography and paintings.

A little old Chinese lady tried to sell me a crocheted scarf for $26!! Obviously I passed that up since I could make the same scarf for $3! We promised the old woman we would be back, but some promises are made to be broken!! After witnessing an altercation involving an artist, a pizza box (with pizza in it) and some young ignorant girls, it was time to move on. We walked into The Embarcadero Center which was a little shopping area, then walked out to discover an ice skating rink. We watched some skaters then moved on to the car to grab our jackets and my hat and gloves in order to prepare for our evening cruise to Alcatraz. We made it over to Pier 33 to pick up our tour tickets and find out when we would be boarding. We had an hour to kill and knew we wouldn't be eating dinner until we came back from The Rock around 7:30, so we headed down to Fisherman's Wharf to grab a slice of pizza to hold us over. The place where we got the pizza is not worth mentioning because it was not good at all. however, while we sat on the bench to eat, we were overlooking the Bay and Alcatraz and Lee was able to take some incredible pictures of the island. We made our way back down to Pier 33 and stood in line for the cruise. the boat started to unload and they started taking tickets. We got up to the ticket taker when we noticed our tickets said Monday, November 26th. The guy told us we had to go back to the ticket counter to switch the tickets to Sunday. When we got out of line and made it over to the counter, Lee explained that they had made a mistake because he purchased the tickets for Sunday. They were not sympathetic at all, and told us we had chosen the wrong day when purchasing the tickets online. We asked them if they could simply trade them for the Sunday tour and they said it was sold out and we would either have to come back on Monday or they would refund our money. Given that we would be leaving for Sonoma on Monday morning, going Monday was not an option, so we requested a refund. :( We felt so defeated and walked over to a bench to sit down and sulk. We talked it over and decided to try and get tickets for the Friday night tour since we had planned on possibly coming back to the city on Friday night. As Lee walked back to the ticket counter to purchase tickets for Friday night, a guy told Lee he had two extra tickets for Sunday's tour!! He was with a group of six people and two of the folks didn't show up, so he sold us two tickets at $25 each, which was a savings of $12!! The Lewis family from Seattle was visiting San Fran to celebrate the September wedding of two people in their group. How appropriate that they came through for us? They were so happy to help us and we were so happy with them!! We climbed aboard and got ourselves situated on the top level of the boat and realized we were about to witness an incredible sunset over the Bay.

The view was more than we could have ever imagined. Lee was able to capture some awesome photos of the sun setting behind the Golden Gate Bridge. Wow!!

After circling The Rock, we stepped off the boat and onto one of the most famous islands in the country. We were on The Rock.

We worked our way up the walkway while learning a lot about the prison from a tour guide along the way. We reached the actual prison and stood in line to receive our headsets for the audio tour. It had been suggested to us by many people to take advantage of this audio tour. We are so happy we did! It was amazing. We were able to walk through the whole prison and learn what it was like from actual prisoners and guards of Alcatraz. We walked into some of the cells in the normal cell blocks as well as cells in solitary confinement.

The conditions were exactly as they should have been for the type of prisoners that were housed there. We learned of the escapes that were attempted as well as the murders and suicides that happened there. After the tour, we waited to hear additional stories of escapes from a tour guide and watched a cell door demonstration as well. Definitely a highlight of our San Fran trip. After leaving Pier 33 we headed back to the car and worked our way around the city to find dinner. Apparently everything closes early in SF because we could not find an open restaurant anywhere! We decided to head back toward the hotel and find something to eat around there. We drove for, what seemed like, FOREVER!! Apparently they don't eat in Frisco! An hour later, we came across a Brewery. Yay!! Eureka!! And, it was open, and busy!! We sat in the bar area and our mouths were watering over any kind of food. I ordered a Pirhana Pale Ale and we got the spinach and artichoke dip. Delicious!!! For dinner, Lee ordered a Buffalo Chicken Deep Dish Pizza and I got the Roast Beef Dip Sandwich. That meal was incredible. I could only eat 1/2 of my sandwich because the spinach dip was SO good. don't worry, it didn't go to waste! Lee enjoyed the other half!! BJ's Brewhouse was well worth the hour drive and hassle to find it! Back to the hotel for our last night before Sonoma!

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