Anyway, we arrived at noon and found ourselves a good parking spot not far from the port where our ferry for the Alcatraz tour would be. Then we hit up a little seaside restaurant for lunch. Their food was spendy and the atmosphere was fancy, but their bathrooms were nasty. Which I don't understand. How can you have a fancy restaurant with ghetto bathrooms? That should be breaking some sort of rule. Any ways, after filling our tummies, we walked over to our line for the ferry. The air was so misty and the air smelled like fish. I didn't mind. We boarded our ferry at around two and I requested that we sit on the deck, so we did. We sat on the top of the boat and overlooked the view from the Golden Gate Bridge over to the mysterious island of Alcatraz. And all the while, my hair grew frizzy from the moist air. I was happy.
After making it to the island and getting off the ferry, we went on a tour and a lady told us about Robert Stroud aka "Birdman". He was a prisoner of Alcatraz who I don't think even finished his high school education. However, I guess you get bored when you sit in a jail cell all day, so prisoners start reading and educating themselves. Stroud educated himself while in prison and became a bird scientist. Apparently he wrote several journals that were published and a bunch of ladies read them and though Stroud was a genius. Then they found out he was in jail so they started writing letters that they should let him out. Some women.
Anyway, now that I told you about the Birdman. . .let's move on. After that tour, we went on the audio tour. I heard great things about the audio tour and I was not disappointed. It may have helped that I do a lot of audio stuff in school, but I thought it was very well done. After the audio tour, we walked around a room that was full of art created by inmates. And I started crying. Because I'm such a wimp. And I just wanted to buy some art that an inmate had created and hang it on my wall as a reminder that there can be beauty in even some of the ugliest of places.
I am in a criminology class this semester that is actually one of my favorite classes, so I found everything about Alcatraz super interesting. There was such a strange and empty feeling present on the island. Plus, Brian and I went through a phase where we were obsessed with mafia movies, so it was cool thinking we were walking around where Al Capone had also been. Basically I just really loved Alcatraz. And now I either want to give art lessons to inmates, or become an inmate myself so that I'll have time to learn another language and become a scientist. Except my mom might be mad if I go to jail. So maybe I'll just give art lessons to inmates. Except I'll have to take art lessons myself before I can teach them. It'll happen, eventually.
One of the prisoners' cells
An area where prisoners could exercise and play games like baseball and horseshoes
I forgot to take my headphones (from the audio tour) off for the picture. My bad.
a watch tower
After spending a good three hours at Alcatraz, we drove over to Santa Clara where Brian's brother Rhett and his wife Alexis live. When we arrived, they gave us a tour of their adorable house and then we ate a delicious dinner. Then we went with them to the Winchester Mystery House. Strangest. House. Ever. First we went through a haunted alley that went around the yard of the house. It was really well done. Like well done enough that we actually fought over who had to walk first. Then we went on a flashlight night tour of the house. It's insane to think that woman spent her whole life after her husband passed just building that house. I'm really bummed that the 1906 earthquake destroyed several levels of the house. If you are wondering what in the world this house is about, watch this video.
Well, that's a quick rundown of our first day in the Bay Area. We obviously did a lot of eerie things: touring a prison where some of the most violent criminals of the past stayed, touring a "haunted" house with staircases and doors going to nowhere. . .But our second day was much more lighthearted as we spent our time exploring the city and eating tasty food. More on those adventures soon.