Day 2 started early in the morning with a trip to the Ferry Marketplace building and its outdoor farmer's market.  It was really fun to walk around and see the variety of produce available on February.  We're more use to Midwest farmer's markets which don't start in February and usually take until July to start getting the things we really want.  This one was packed with all kinds of fruits and vegetables, great looking meats, cheeses and fish.  Also the building itself is full of lots of specialty food stores, so there was plenty to look at inside as well.  Erin also spotted Clinton Kelly walking around the market and had to explain to me who he was.  We were disappointed that we couldn't really buy any food at the market since we didn't have anywhere to cook it and clearly weren't going to fit it in our one carry on bag.  We had a 10:00 tour for Alcatraz booked (make sure you book this a week or two before you head to San Francisco or they will be sold out) so we started walking along the waterfront to Pier 33 where the tour departs from.   We got there a little early, so we had to wait a little bit before boarding the boat.  Overall, it was busy but pretty efficiently run.  We left right at 10:00 and it was a nice ride into the bay.
One of the other Alcatraz boats heading back

I took a few shots of San Francisco from the bay and some pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge.  The boat ride was short, but pretty.

Enjoying the boat ride

Soon our destination came into view

The warning signs were interesting

The main part of the prison is actually pretty high up on the hill and requires a little bit of a hike to get up there, but like all of the hills in San Francisco, it seemed easy to climb because of the overabundance of Oxygen at sea level :).  There's quite a difference between hiking on a mountain at 12,000 ft and walking up a steep hill at sea level.

The main cell block building is on top of the hill

I grabbed a few pictures of San Francisco on our walk up the hill.

Views of San Francisco from Alcatraz Island

This first place we headed to after our brief introductory talk was the cell house.  There they have a great audio tour available to take where they give you an mp3 player and headphones.  The tour does a great job of describing everything about Alcatraz and was really well done.  I think it takes about an hour to do the whole tour and you really get a good feel for for the history of Alcatraz.  We both really loved it. 

Inside the cell block area

The tour covers the cell block area as well as other parts of the prison including the control room and cafeteria.

Exercise Yard and Control Room

After the tour, we explored the rest of the island some and made it back to the pier a few minutes before a boat arrived to take us back to San Francisco.  We walked to Fisherman's Wharf which is a little further down the waterfront from the Alcatraz pier.  By now it was getting late for a lunch, so we were both hungry and we stopped at pretty much the first place we could find.  After lunch, we walked around Fisherman's Wharf, saw the sea lions, a famous bakery, and stopped at the Musee Mechanique.  The Musee Mechanique is a great little museum which showcases classic mechanical and arcade games.  Almost all of the games are playable.  It was fun to see what was popular in arcades from a long time ago.  It is definitely worth a visit if you're in the area.  Just make sure to bring some quarters.

We continued to walk around the area and eventually ended up at Ghirardelli Square.  We went through the shops and got some free chocolates, but neither of us were up to a Sundae, so we passed that up.  Maybe next time we're in San Francisco.  By this time is was getting into the late afternoon so we walked back the hotel so we could get ready to meet some a high school friend and her husband for dinner.  We ended up taking the bus to dinner which was an interesting chance to see a wider range of humanity than we normally deal with on a daily basis.  Let's just say we decided to take a cab home from dinner and avoid that bus route in the future.  Dinner was great and it was fun to be able to catch up with an old friend.

Continue to Day 3

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