Monday, 2nd April
Up bright and breezy, and after our energy building breakfast eggs over easy, muffins and pleased to say very popular melon and pineapple combo we split into two groups; one taking a walking tour and the other Alcatraz. Weather clear skies and sunny all the way.
With Mr Murray at the helm of group 1 we strode out taking in sights and sounds of the trams clanking past, heading for Chinatown. A vibrant part of the city, so much to take in. Two particular highlights were visiting the Fortune Cookie factory; a tiny entrance down a side street with an aged Chinese lady producing the cookies. Even had the opportunity to make a note to put inside for someone special. Some pupils in group 2 took up the opportunity of an impromptu session playing mandarins in the street and if you like a bit of graffiti there was also some fabulous artwork to be seen.
A bit of the ’Streets of San Francisco’ steep street walking was another challenge but the students were not to be beaten and impressed with their continued energy levels. The literal climb took us to Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill, a memorial to Lillie Coit and the San Francisco firemen; all 210 feet. Some students even managed to climb it; very impressed.
Alcatraz the ‘Rock’, what can we say, fascinating. Took the ferry over with students all straight up on the top deck for the best views and sea spray. The Ranger gave us super talk on the history of the island from its initial military fortification and prison in the 1860s to a federal prison from 1934 to 1963 when it was finally closed as no longer cost effective. Students took the opportunity to ask insightful questions of the Ranger. We then headed up to the prison itself collecting our headset tour guides. So much information and students lapped it up taking in each stop point and every photo opportunity. There was even the opportunity to have a book signed by a former prison William G Baker prisoner #1259, imprisoned for fraud and ended up at Alcatraz for escaping from other facilities. Souvenirs purchased, we caught the ferry back for our meet up at the Westfield Shopping Centre; too much excitement for students when they discovered there was a Sephora shop across the road; lots of shopping and dinner.