We left the hotel at 8:45 a.m. to head to Pier 33 for our Angel Island/Alcatraz trip. We decided to walk there rather than use public transportation. We got there at 9:10 a.m. and we waited in line for until boarding the boat at 9:30.
The boat went to Angel Island first. We arrived at about 10:30. A tram ride around the island is included in the ticket price, so we decided to take it. The GPS activated narration wasn’t working reliably, so the tram docent would stop the tram periodically and tell us the information we were missing from the automated narration.
The views of the bay area around the island were great. The tram docent said that yesterday on his tours, it was too foggy to see much of anything, so we were getting much better views that yesterday. Even though it was hazy, we could see pretty well. The tram ride lasted about an hour, which left time for a lunch at the cafe on the island.
After lunch, there were just a few minutes to explore before the ferry returned to take us to Alcatraz. We boarded the ferry at 12:35 p.m. and headed for Alcatraz.
After our group received basic information from a park ranger at Alcatraz, we watched the introductory video in the theater. Then we headed to the cell house for the audio tour. The audio tour was narrated by a former guard and it was very informative and entertaining. We were led around the entire cell house by the narration.
Once we finished the audio tour, we explored the other areas. Many were closed off because of the nesting season of the night herons and western gulls. The entire parade ground was taken over by the gulls and their young.
The wind on the island was truly incredible. When we were in the prison recreation area, we could hardly stand up.
After we explored what we could, we returned to the dock to catch the 4:55 p.m. ferry back to San Francisco. When we got back to the city, we returned to the hotel to plan our evening.
Based on information from the concierge, we decided to try a Spanish tapa bar in the Russian Hill area, so we headed south from the hotel.
We stopped at Lombard Street to experience “the curviest street.” We took lots of pictures of the street and the amazing flowers all along it. When we were finished there, we continued south along Hyde Street to the tapa restaurant.
Unfortunately, when we got there we learned it was closed on Mondays. So we continued along Hyde to see what else the Russian Hill area offered in the way of restaurants.
We found a Japanese, French, and seafood restaurant that we liked among the many others we saw. We eventually settled on the Japanese, the Sushi Groove.
Once inside, we were seated at the bar since all the tables were taken or reserved. It was fun at the bar, because we could watch the three chefs assemble the dishes.
We started with a mussel shooter. It was served on a mussel shell, and you just turn it up and let everything slide right in. It was fishy, crunchy, spicey, and eggy (thanks to the quail egg at the end). Quite and appetizer!
We followed that with maguro (ahi tuna), hamachi (yellowtail), spicy hotate (scallop), and a dish called red dragon (a shrimp tempura, avacado, and other goodies). The meal was very interesting for our non-sushi palates.
To re-Americanize our taste buds, we stopped at Mitchell Ice Cream in the Cannery close to our hotel for dessert.
We returned to the hotel around 9:00 p.m. after another full day.