"If you’re alive, you can’t be bored in San Francisco. If you’re not alive, San Francisco will bring you to life." - William Saroyan
San Francisco is a vibrant city; full of life, art, and history. A city where you can shop until you drop, drink some of the best wines, and explore until your feet ache. As I was only there for five days, I tried to cram in as much as possible.One of the highlights, besides the Golden Gate Bridge, was Alcatraz security federal penitentiary. The criminals that were put on this desolate island usually had committed a string of serious crimes. One of the most notorious criminals was Al Capone. He was a gangster, a bootlegger and a smuggler during Prohibition; however, he was convicted of tax evasion. It was easier for the authorities to indict him on taxes then to prove the smuggling/bootlegging.
As the boat approached the island, the fortress loomed through the light mist. Docking on the island, we walked a steep incline up to the actual prison, passing the school from the military days, housing for the guards, and incredibly high watch towers. Inside the prison, were 3 tiers of cells along the rows. The 9 x 5 ft cells barely had room to hold the bed and a sink. Considering the inmates were locked away on an isolated island for serious crimes, they still had more available to them than I thought. There was a library, a movie room, and an outdoors area. There is definitely a lot to tell and know about Alcatraz. One book you should read is Rock Hard by Leon “Whitey” Thompson. It is the autobiography of one of the inmates on the island. He tells his life story and how he came to be an Alcatraz inmate.
The rest of the trip, we visited the historical Fisherman’s Wharf, saw the sea lions sprawled out on Pier 39, did a photo shoot at the Golden Gate Bridge, shopped until we dropped in Union Square, visited the Painted Ladies (if you ever watched Full House as a kid, you will know what I mean) and hit up Foley’s Duelling Piano Bar, and Cobb’s Comedy Club.
The best part about Cobb’s Comedy Club was David Spade as the headliner and his opener was Kevin Farley (Chris Farley’s younger brother)! As soon as Kevin walked out on stage and started talking, it was like seeing Chris Farley all over again. Between him and David Spade, it was a hilarious show.
After five days of exploring this lively city, I still did not manage to make it out to the wineries in Sonoma or Napa Valley. Now I have another reason to head back!