San Fransisco – Alcatraz & Pier 39 | Spring Break 2016

IMG_0704.PNGHey everyone!

Apologies for the silent treatment this past week, but guess where I’ve been (clue: title of this post)! Yep, San Fransisco! This past week was Spring Break (thank the heavens for that, too) and my friend’s parents invited a few of us down to to The City to enjoy a few days without assignments and exams and everything horrible about college, haha. It was a great way to enjoy my last Spring Break here in the States! We were there for five days (Monday through to Friday), and we packed in a lot of things. In light of the multitude of things we did, I broke up the adventure into two parts, and here’s part one! I hope you guys enjoy it!

We landed in Oakland around noon, and the first thing we did was try In-N-Out! My friend, who is  from the area mentioned how it would be a crime (and I quote him), a crime to not have tried their burgers, animal fries, and shakes. I’m not going to delve into that too much but suffice to say, it was delicious. Monday night was quiet as we enjoyed the company of each other and had a home cooked meal (most underrated thing ever for college students).

As much as we wanted to enjoy the sun and be lazy around a pool, we wanted this break to be about adventure and exploration, so on Tuesday we decided to head to Alcatraz. The walk along the Pier and our ferry ride started on Pier 33. It was overcast, but that didn’t dull the excitement. I hadn’t explored much of the west coast, so we were pretty eager. I won’t bore you with a heavy description of the island because Wikipedia would probably do a better job at it anyway. But essentially, it is mostly known as a former military and (then) federal prison until 1963, and after that, it was occupied by indigenous people ’till the late 1960’s. We spent a good few hours there, and for us, it was very eye-opening. I highly recommend the audio tour because it gives a great description of the most important events (including escapes) that had transpired on the island. The most impactful part of the tour was when a narrator (who had experienced life as a prisoner on the island) mentioned how his cell window faced the bustling city, and how freedom was only a breath away, but at the same time, how despondent he felt during his time. I won’t go much into the details because it’s definitely a must see place and the reality of the situation is absolutely stunning. When you enter the island, and walk around, you are transported into a time of fear, where desperation was at its peak and escape was on the forefront of every prisoner’s thoughts.  The lighthouse on the island gave a spectacular view of the bustling city, and it helps realize the extent of suffering for prisoners knowing how different their life was from the smiles and laughter bubbling a few miles away.

After a mostly thorough exploration of Alcatraz, we decided to walk along the pier to Boudin’s Bakery. Our friend’s mother recommended their clam chowder, and dear god, she wasn’t wrong. I wish I had taken some photographs, but we were too busy stuffing our faces after an eventful (and tiring) day, but it was downright delicious. It was a little cold and windy outside, so it was the perfect lunch. As we walked along the piers towards the BART station (train), we decided to make a quick stop at Pier 39. I’ll be honest, this place is nothing but a tourist trap, but a trap worth getting caught in. The shops were small, and colorful against the darkening sky. The hustle and bustle of tourists were still prevalent and it made the whole place lively. We stopped at the Ghirardelli chocolate shop for a quick nibble, and Mrs. Field’s Cookies for a second round of dessert (we’re on holiday, so we had no shame!).  We took a few photographs and decided to head home for a hearty meal and call it a night.

I’ll stop here because Wednesday and Thursday were packed with events, and it’ll require another post in itself! I hope you guys enjoyed this post, and as I say in many of my posts; I hope you try out the places mentioned, and if you  have, I’d love to know about your experiences!
Cheers,
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