Going to Alcatraz is one of those weird experiences: Macabre tourism. An exquisite shiver and a delight in the horror of others. Clearly we’re fascinated – you have to book months in advance to get a ticket – to visit the incarceration home of some of the most repugnant people in history.
Alcatraz in the sun
This is not a nice man…
Take Capone. A syphilitic cold blooded murderer, extortionist, pimp and bootlegger. Look at those eyes… not a pleasant man, best avoided. But we love the frisson of visiting his prison cell. And it’s all the weirder when the weather is warm and the sky is blue. Horror in heaven – it’s a Hollywood wet dream!
Cell block amenities
I loved the story about the showers: The prison governor, wary that cold showers would acclimatise the prisoners to the cold and thus possibly give them reason to test the San Francisco Bay waters in an attempt to escape, mandated hot showers only. The food was pretty good too. The company was not.
The sun shone when we were there. It really did feel like a summer excursion, the warmth, the boats and the sea. But the place itself… There’s a chill that hangs over Alcatraz, justifiably. I think the San Francisco fog is much more apt for this visit. It should be cold. Clammy. And ever so slightly threatening…
The view to the mainland
The watchtower, in summer sun
Penitentiary, now that’s a word to describe this place.
If you like road tripping then America is the place. Especially if you get one of those enormously, humongously, massively large monster cars. Which is what I needed as I had wife, kids and ps-i-l in tow, so I hired a Chevy Suburban which can seat an army plus luggage (…don’t ask, 3 men + 3 WOMEN…), and off we trundled, down the coast of California.
The Lone Pine
Luckily, in between the malls of SF and LA, I was occasionally allowed to stop and take a pic or two. I know I know, the cliche images of Route 1, but hey, they’re still great to look at!
I rather fell in love with my Suburban. And I’m slightly worried that if I were American I would end up driving a truck. Where else do you want/need a car where the engine bonnet is at the height of your chest? But the bigness of these cars just seems to go with the place. Almost 2000 miles and I barely let Mrs P drive.
It’s a man’s car
Due to the passengers, I had to curtail – severely – my desire to stop every 10 miles and take another photo. And I barely was allowed to use the tripod at all! So I had to content myself with the best known spots.
Bixby, close up.
Play Misty For Me
Not enough photography. I shall just have to go back and do it all over again by myself. But how, then, do I justify a Suburban….?