“Unexpected intrusions of beauty. This is what life is.”
― Saul Bellow

The first stop for our summer family vacation this year was San Francisco.  One of the things my family wanted to do was visit Alcatraz Island.  Luckily, we heard that tickets needed to be

purchased in advance, so we already had our tickets.  On the day we visited Alcatraz, there were no tickets available for the next two months.


All I knew about Alcatraz came from the big screen.  I remember vividly watching Escape From Alcatraz with my parents when I was young.

On the day of our tour, we arrived at the pier at our designated time to board a boat that took us to the island.   Once on the island, you can choose to watch informational movies about Alcatraz, join tour groups to learn about different subjects, and take a guided (by headphones) tour of the prison.  I would highly recommend all of these.  You can stay as long as you wish until the last boat heads back to the mainland.

What I found so surprising was the amount of beauty that I was able to find on the island.

Doorway to…

The textures and colors were so interesting.

I was most intrigued by the gardens of Alcatraz.  There was beauty bursting forth from this somber and desolate place.


Flowers and Fire Hydrant

Feather and Flowers

I did not take all of my lenses to Alcatraz as I wanted to lighten the load.  Additionally, only smaller backpacks are allowed on the tour.  Once there, I wished I had brought my macro lens with me.

If you ever get the opportunity, I hope you will tour Alcatraz and learn about its history while experiencing the unexpected beauty there.

Since returning home, our family watched Escape from Alcatraz again.  It was so interesting to see those scenes unfold in corridors and rooms we had walked through the week before.