The Rock

This article was written 15 years ago in 2005 when I was just 20, so I ask you not to judge the writing too harshly! The text is as it was originally published.

This morning was difficult. James and I woke almost simultaneously this morning after a very good night's sleep, most definitely helped by the alcohol consumption of last night. The alcohol also assisted one other thing which was our hangovers. Basically Caz and Caroline (our 'roomies') offered to get us our beers (due to certain silly restrictions here we can't get a drink) and despite only buying three to start with (a chilled Saturday night) we all ended up getting hammered.

We headed over to the other USA hostel on Sutter and met up with a load of people in the basement including Ben & Neil (Doncaster), Debbie (High Wycombe), Neil (only bloody Carricktoole - just up the road from Ballycotton in Cork), Paul (Edgbaston) and Tim (Australia). Despite being in San Fran, we havn't actually done any socialising with Americans.

It was a good laugh, the 'Hawaiian Punch' was flowing and there was some drinking games and fussball going on too until the early hours. A good night.

So this morning we gathered up our stuff, left a note for the girls and headed back over to the Commodore (where we are staying for a second night) after some breakfast. James once again managed to make his pancake look like roadkill, but it filled a gap and the coffee helped clear our head. We bumped into a scouse couple as we washed up who were friendly and gave some advice about Vegas and the Strip. There had been a large amount of destination-info swapping last night, although that is fairly hard to recall.

Another cable car ride from the main terminal and we arrived at Pier 41 just in time to catch the ferry to Alcatraz. I was having trouble focusing (not entirely sure why) so we got a hotdog and some liquids inside and by the time we got to the island I was fine.

Alcatraz is a fantastically brooding monstrosity and the audio tour is very comprehensive. The main highlights included Al Capone's cell although one of my personal favourites was the exhibition called Prisoners of Age exhibit which consisted of about 30 or so large (well designed) banners with some stunning portrait photos of convicted murderers, traffickers and kidnappers with personal accounts of the incidents.

The island was fascinating and I took quite a good number of photos. When we finished we headed back to the dock and picked up shrimp and chips for food. On the way back there was a visit to the cable car museum which had the added surprise of being the cable house as well so we watched endless loops of cable being recycled around the city.

Tomorrow we are off to Yosemite and the likes. Organised travelling here we come...

This post was first published on Mon Aug 29 2005 originally on, my former personal blog

Andy Higgs
The author

My name is Andy Higgs and I am a business founder, design leader, occassional surfer and travel enthusiast based in the UK.

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