On our first evening we headed to the marina and checked out the famous Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39. It was really fun to walk around them as there was a really bustling atmosphere. They are full of shops and restaurants yet it isn't tacky at all, just very modern and clean. I bought an Alcatraz hoodie as a little souvenir- but also because it was cold! At the top left side of Pier 39 there are lots of sea lions! It was great to watch them splashing around and making lots of noise! It's such a novelty, as you just don't see that in England.
The second day we went to Alcatraz, a former maximum security prison on it's own island, just over a mile away from San Francisco. Notorious prisoners, such as Al Capone, were sent there, and it ran from 1934-1963, where Robert Kennedy shut it down as it was too expensive to maintain. With it's complete isolation and all the mist surrounding it, I can definitely see where J K Rowling must have got her inspiration for Azkhaban! I learnt so many interesting things about it from the audio tour (which is included in the ticket price), it really brought it to life through prison noises and stories of escape attempts and riots. For instance, the showers for the prisoners were actually warm, not cold like normal prison showers, so that if prisoners did manage to escape they wouldn't be acclimatised to the cold sea water! There was one possible successful escape; three men stole spoons and dug tunnels in the back of their cells where the vents were. They made fake vents out of cardboard to cover up the holes, and on the night they escaped they made fake heads out of soap and cement to put in their beds so they weren't actually discovered until morning! They crawled through the vents into the utility corridor and then climbed up the pipes onto the roof- prison break springs to mind!! They'd made rafts out of raincoats and no one ever saw them again so it's unknown if they made it to San Francisco or if they drowned. Fascinating!
On our final full day in San Franciso we walked up to the famous Golden Gate Bridge. Unfortunately, it was very misty every day that we stayed there so the bridge wasn't as spectacular as it would look on a sunny day. However, it was still a very vivid orange colour and impressive to look at. In the afternoon we headed over to Union Square for a spot of shopping. The shopping here is, as expected, very good. I had a splurge in Sephora I must admit! I finally got my hands on an Hourglass Ambiant Lighting Powder and a face powder, as well as a Sephora Bronzer Brush and a Caudalie Beauty Elixir. One thing that has surprised me about the shops here is that there are a lot that have separate men's stores- there's a HUGE Macy's here and then round the corner is a Macy's Men's store, ditto for H&M!
I've had a great San Francisco, there's lots to do, see and lovely food to eat here- just remember to pack lots of jumpers!