A very special place to visit. We were just spellbound by our step back in history when we visited this National Park.
Of course we just love a good boat tour, but the journey here was quite short – only 1.25 miles from San Francisco to Alcatraz island.
We were fortunate to arrive on a day when the Hospital (which isn’t even noted on any of the maps) was open for a brief time to the public – so we made a bee-line straight for the Hospital. Fascinating to see generally how crude the machinery was back in 50s and 60s, probably not just because this was a prison filled with the “most wanted” criminals.
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A National Park Ranger also gave a talk about “The Birdman of Alcatraz” (Robert Stroud) who was moved into a cell in the hospital wing as the only way to keep him in true solitary confinement in the entire prison.
We then took the included audio tour. This was imaginatively directed by past prison warders and inmates. Was incredibly well done and you had the opportunity to pause the commentary if you wanted to spend longer at any point. After about an hour of being guided from one part to another, or to a different episode that occurred, we were led outside to the view of San Francisco. As I left the building, as a reflex, I took a deep breath of fresh air and enjoyed the warmth of the sun. this brought home to me what a terrible place this would have been to live in as an inmate or even work as a warder / guard!
This time we did not have long enough to explore beyond the Hospital and the Prison Tour where we could have discovered the wildlife that has taken to “The Rock” as its home. However, we did look through one Ranger’s spotting scope at a hummingbird on her nest which had eggs visible.
A place I am sure we will return to, perhaps with are time to explore further.
Gear: Nikon D800, Nikkor 18.0-35.0mm f/3.5-4.5, Lexar Digital Film, Photoshop and NIK Silver Efex Pro 2 for post processing.