"The Traveling Sot"

Old Dec 4th, 2005, 04:49 PM
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"The Traveling Sot"

"20 Arrondissements, 20 Boissons, 1 Jour"

As the bisected nautilus shell spirals out so do the arrondissements from the center of Paris. Does that sound like a soap opera to you?

Ever since I mentioned the lady a few years ago from Fodor's that attempted this feat, my Traveling Companion has been strangely fascinated almost fixated with this. It was a Julie in pre-registration days, December '02. They were troopers and made it through 19 of them. Her party missed a drink in the 13th.


My TC did some research and came up with a shortest distance and a fewest stops scenarios. His treatise started like this:

"The seminal work in mathematical topology is Leonard Euler's 'Bridges of Konigsberg' problem, and the classic example of NP Complete theory is the 'Traveling Salesman' problem. At last these two great concepts come together in a problem I call 'The Traveling Sot.'"


You should see the multi-colored maps that came with it. That's what happens when you double major in computer science and mathematics at university. I'm only half that geeky with just the computer science.

As a twist, this little jaunt of 20km would be attempted without public transportation except to/from the start/end points. An alcoholic drink would not be required at every stop but bonus points would be given for each one. Even with the walking and drinking "lite" beers, that's a lot in an 18 hour day. When was the last time I saw a "lite" beer in France? Maybe never.

I chose the route that minimized distance. The hike started in the northeast of Paris, made a big semi-circle and ended in the northwest. Not that it mattered much. Each route was approximately 20km or 12 miles.

The day of destiny was to be Nov. 24th. A holiday at home in the US, there was nothing stopping us in Paris.

First a subway ride to the Belleville stop on the Metro 11 line. Conveniently 4 arrondissements come together here: 19, 20, 10 & 11. We arrived for a start a little later than I wanted. It was about 10:00am. Thankfully it was France. I wasn't the first one in that little bar ordering a beer.

19 - Le Weekend: 2 beers

10 - Restaurant de la Poste: 1 Ricard, 1 beer

20 - La Viellese: 2 kir

Walking towards the center of Paris, we were on the road dividing the 10th & 11th.

11 - B & B Brasserie: 1 Ricard, 1 beer

Continuing on we crossed Place de la Republique. On rue de Turbigo we were now in the 3rd.

3 - Bar de la Bourse (What bourse? The bourse was well over a mile away): 2 beers

Soon we were where the 1, 2, 3 & 4 loosely come together. Having already done the 3rd on the way down it was the 2nd next.

2 - Les Velocipedes: 2 kir

1 - Cafe Paris Halles: 1 ricard, 1 kir

Walking more deeply into the 4th we stopped for lunch.

4 - Cafe la Comete: 50cl pichet cote de Rhone with lunch

Now it was time for a walk away from the city center to catch a couple of outer arrondissements.

12 - Le Train Bleu (Gare de Lyon): 1 suze, 1 beer

Cross the Seine to the Left Bank.

13 - La Cigale: 1 kir, 1 Ricard

Continuing around the Left.

5 - L'Interlude: 2 beers (and my first Turkish toilet of the trip.)

14 - Raspail Bar: 1 Ricard, 1 beer

6 - La Consigne: 2 kir

7 - Bar Tonnerelle: 1 kir, 1 beer

15 - La Corsaire: 2 beers and an early dinner.

By now I was flagging a little. It was 7:00pm, dark and getting colder. It was raining a little. Not to mention a bit of a buzz. But what the heck with only 5 more to go was now the time to quit? Nah.

We walked to the Eiffel Tower admired the lights and crossed the Seine. Walking along the water front I had a continuous spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower over my shoulder. Being careful where I stepped of course. Stopped to watch the 8:00pm ET twinkle show. Dang purty.

16 - Grand Corona: 1 beer, 1 rum

17 - Le Cristal:1 kir, 1 Ricard

Time to go by the Arc de Triomphe. You do get to see a few monuments on this trek.

8 - Bivouac:1 suze, 1 kir (19.50euro! Pricey, pricey near the Arc. I won't be drinking much in this 'hood.)

9 - ?? (moules & frites on neon, note taking and the photo were a little fuzzy here) :1 beer, 1 navy grog

Finally arrived at the Place Clichy around 11:30pm to hit the last one.

18 - : Wepler restaurant 1 bottle Chinon red.

Cab back to the hotel.

Wow we made it! Coherent throughout the whole event too!

Dinner at the Wepler was excellent. www.wepler.com

Arriving at 11:30 there were people still coming in after us. This was just on a regular Thursday night. Just how late can these people eat? I had an incredibly delicious and warming French onion soup. It was very soothing and warming after the hike. Next I had the foie gras appetizer my second of the trip. It came with hot toast points. That was it for me. I was full, tired and ready to crash.

Thoughts on the Experience

"Don't try this at home kids. These are paid professionals on a closed course."

Hold onto your wallet! Alcohol alone for this bender was 155euro. In hindsight I should have bought beers at convenience stores for at least a few of the stops.

Cool weather is a must. I'd have heat stroked walking 12+ miles in a day in the summer. Clear weather would be nice too. It rained some while we were on the Left Bank.

Don't schedule much for the next day.

Paris bar's usually measure their pour pretty closely. This helps a lot.

Monday might be a good day since some regular things are closed.

Start earlier in the day than 10:00am. No one in a French bar will mind. They'll already be drinking when you walk in.

Have a good map and someone with a sense of direction for the city.

Can we say comfortable shoes?
indytravel is offline  
Old Dec 4th, 2005, 07:55 PM
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Good Lord, indytravel! Now that was ambition (and determination), and I admire it!
smalti is offline  
Old Dec 4th, 2005, 08:03 PM
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And I thought your trash can analysis was funny...

Are there photos or has all the evidence been destroyed?
mvor is offline  
Old Dec 4th, 2005, 08:05 PM
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Impressive. This should be published.
Catbert is offline  
Old Dec 4th, 2005, 08:47 PM
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So that day the alcohol/total expenditure ratio was even higher than your usual tally. Even leaving out the foie gras. (I'm only assuming foie gras here, giving you the benefit of the doubt.)
Nikki is online now  
Old Dec 4th, 2005, 08:47 PM
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<Don't schedule much for the next day.>

I think I'd need more than one day to recover from this! My arthritic knees probably wouldn't make it anyway. Sounds like fun, though.
SusanP is online now  
Old Dec 4th, 2005, 08:48 PM
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indy, you are a marvel!
You arrived coherent!
I will share this with the Yankee. I would never begin to attempt anything like this but I could accompany someone who will try
We will take your posting here to use as a guide
Scarlett is offline  
Old Dec 5th, 2005, 03:10 AM
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You know the Irish Poster "the 40 pubs of Dublin" - We ( six of us)did it - 40 pubs, one day, at least one alcoholic drink in each. We had one accident - someone fell down the stairs - one drop out - in or around pub 27 and 4 finishers.
Old Dec 5th, 2005, 03:30 AM
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The english equivelent of this is the Circle Line - a drink at each of the circle lines stations. I've done this but I was a lot younger then.

We also do the monopoly board - a drink in all the properties on the monopoly board. Again I have done this, but wouldn't want to do it again.
david_west is offline  
Old Dec 5th, 2005, 03:34 AM
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indytravel - Is there any possibility of letting us access a map of the route you took? I would have to know where all these watering holes are before I could begin! Thanks!
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Old Dec 5th, 2005, 05:05 AM
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God I thpought the annual Pub crawl we have was tough...11 pubs and several "boat races" through the night. We do this between Christmas and new years in Dublin. Its 11 years old now and they used to cycle to the pubs in their younger days. Where is the threat for the 40 irish pubs..just curious
SiobhanP is offline  
Old Dec 5th, 2005, 05:10 AM
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Another great way to waste time in Dublin is the DART pub crawl. A pint at every dart stop from Howth to Greystones.
Old Dec 5th, 2005, 06:16 AM
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Brava, Indy.

Have you notified the Guiness Book of Records?

ira is online now  
Old Dec 5th, 2005, 08:40 AM
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Well, well, Indy...we've been missing you on the poison thread and had no idea you'd dumped us for something much more fun....an entire poison trip!
Statia is offline  
Old Dec 5th, 2005, 09:03 AM
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Words fail me. We could be related....excessiveness tends to run in my family.
Well done!
AuntAnnie is offline  
Old Dec 5th, 2005, 04:16 PM
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Hey everybody! I appreciate the comments and like hearing about events in other cities. I'll have to run the Circle Line, Monopoly and 40 pubs of Dublin ideas past my TC.

There are photos, though I only have the night shots with film. My friend has the daylight ones on digital camera. With the holidays and working on the rest of the trip report it may be awhile before I get any photos online.

tod if you e-mail me at my address I can send you the map. It's in Word format. Just don't put random words like "zantax, amelia, barnacle" in the message text.

Nikki, the ratio was of the charts this time. What I paid for a truffle packed foie was over the top.

40 pubs lawchick sounds like more than I can handle. Especially since a lot of the beers in Paris were .25 liters, not even a 12 ounce can.
indytravel is offline  
Old Dec 5th, 2005, 04:33 PM
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You are my idol! My DH and I are sitting here trying to decide which of our friends could keep up because we are now determined to follow in your footsteps next winter.

Would you mind if I also emailed you for the map?

Dork that I am, I would do the whole thing wearing a pedometer to see how many calories are burned throughout the walk. I bet (hope?!) you break even in the end with room for fois gras left over.

You rock, Indy!
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Old Dec 5th, 2005, 04:40 PM
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Wonderful report!

Finally arrived at the Place Clichy around 11:30pm to hit the last one.
18 - : Wepler restaurant 1 bottle Chinon red.

I'm especially impressed that you chose such a high alcohol beer for your last stop

bardo1 is offline  
Old Dec 5th, 2005, 04:56 PM
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Having finished reading this, I now have a blinding headache and a very upset stomach. I sincerely hope, Indy, that you & TC fared better than that, and that neither of your livers has suffered any consequences. (Try some milk thistle capsules, and lay off the sauce for about a week---it will work regenerative wonders!)

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Old Dec 5th, 2005, 05:21 PM
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When I read the title I thought you might have been traveling with my DH, who must have upped our trip bill by $1,000 with your inclinations!
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