California, Part 5: San Francisco

After spending another week in LA I decided I wanted to head north to San Francisco to see the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. It was pretty easy to get to the city, $55 got me a bus/train/bus combo ride there that took around 7hours. A quick taxi ride to later and I arrived at my hostel and fell straight into bed.

San Fran was a pretty cool city, it looked almost exactly as I imagined after seeing various movies set there with plenty of steep hills like in Bullit. It took me a few days to explore it properly, seeing the Golden Gate Bridge, the beach and various districts of the city.

Looking down a San Fran street.

The Golden Gate Bridge.

Possibly my favourite part of San Fran, and a key reason for my visit, was Alcatraz. It’s a bit of an effort to get over to the island (you have to book tickets at least a day in advance usually) but completely worth it.

I went over on an overcast day and from the boat the place looked foreboding and menacing, that’s to someone who knew he was leaving in a few hours, it must of been a lot worse for the convicts. The weather took a turn for the worse, practically eliminating any chance of exploring the outdoor parts, leaving the famous cell house audio tour as the best option. I’m not usually a fan of wandering round listening to a pre-recorded spiel but this one was actually really good. The commentary is given by former guards and inmates, giving actually references to their live on Alcatraz, something a regular tour guide can’t do. It was well worth the $30 to visit Alcatraz, and I’d recommend the tour to anyone.


For the duration of my visit the weather was absolutely shite, limiting what could be done in the day (especially as I had no waterproofs or cold weather clothing). Fortunately there were loads of awesome people at the hostel so if the weather was really bad we’d just hang out there and the bar with free beer on a night in the basement meant you really didn’t need to leave. I had a few good nights there just drinking and hanging out, though by far the best was St. Paddy’s day:

From left to right: Me, Emma, Mathias, Jo, Simone, Christa, Kerry and Claire.

After about a week in San Fran I headed back to LA for a few days, met up with some friends from Santa Monica and just generally chilled out and got supplies for the Costa Rican adventure.


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