Thursday, October 26, 2017

2017 - California Day 13 (San Francisco)

Thursday, September 21, 2017. Today, we visit Alcatraz, explore Fisherman's Wharf and explore before heading to Trestle for dinner.

Golden Gate Bridge on the left, Alcatraz on the right
We took the local bus to make it a bit closer to Alcatraz. The buses actually have coin and bill counters which I thought was very neat! They do have a tap-fare card, but it cost too much to us since we would use it too little. Our Alcatraz tour start time was 9:10am. There are various times for when you can start, but I am told that you should book your tickets beforehand because it does get sold out.

We were there from 9:10am and made it back by 12:25pm. So, we spent roughly 3 hours there. Alcatraz is a self-guided tour where you are given a headset and you explore as the headset tells you about the history and you can control your pace. Note, the tour itself is not in a real logical path, so if you want to pause and return after some pictures, make sure that you remember where you stopped since you will get lost if you try to do this.

What's the TTC streetcar doing here?
Alcatraz was the first place that I learned about the Junior Ranger program. What is the Junior Ranger program? When you visit a US National Park, you can ask about it and it is essentially a way for you to learn more about the site. The booklet that they provide you with quizzes you on things at the site, such as history, landscape, and historic items. If you complete the booklet, you will be given a Junior Ranger badge for that site (which is unique to each site and is made out of wood).

Make sure to stop for sea lions at Pier 33!
Alcatraz is a neat sight. It isn't as big as the other prisons that we have been to, but it is unique since it is an island and for the history behind it. During the guided tour you will learn how the history, the escapes, and more. We did notice that since we were one of the earliest tours (there was only one tour before the 9:10am one), by the end of our tour, it got really busy. So, you may want to try to come early, or I read that you can try to come late to get some nice night shots of the skyline and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Fog Harbour - Clam chowder and cioppino (they kindly split the serving in two, yes, that is originally one serving)
Fog Harbour - Cioppino close up
Fog Harbour - our free blue cheese garlic bread
Once we made it back on land, we went to Fog Harbour for lunch where we ordered the clam chowder, and lazy Cioppino (they debone everything for you). And we got a free blue cheese garlic cheese bread with a free coupon that Allison found. It came out to $55 and was very delicious.

We ended up exploring more of Fisherman's Wharf, saw Chinatown, Union Square, and then we made it to dinner at Trestle.

Trestle - Cauliflower soup on the left, pear salad on the right
Trestle - Salmon on the top, lamb on the bottom
Trestle - Chocolate cake on the left, toffee pudding on the right
Trestle is a fixed-prix restaurant which only has 2 items for each course which is perfect for us since we would be able to order everything. And best of all, it is only $35! Food was very good, restaurant is a bit small though, so do make reservations ahead of time to ensure your spot.

We ended up wandering back to our hotel after dinner.

Tomorrow, we visit the Golden Gate Bridge.

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