May 13, 2005

Chris Stockdale cycles from London to Athens for the marbles

Posted at 1:11 pm in Elgin Marbles

British doctor Chris Stockdale has just completed a journey by bike from the British Museum in London, to the Acropolis in Athens to raise awareness for the Elgin Marbles.
He has arrived there almost a week earlier than expected.
It is not his first effort, having previously swum in between the Greek Islands of Delos & Paros for the same cause.
A (badly translated by me) interview with him is in Ta Nea today.


Chris Stockdale “Returns” the Marbles with a bicycle
Twenty seven days, a bicycle and his passion for the return of the Parthenon Marbles was what the 63 year old doctor, Chris Stockdale required in order to cover the distance from the British Museum to the Acropolis. A symbolic journey, as he characterises it himself, with a view that it adds one little stone to the effort of repatriation of the leading work of art of classic antiquity, that was created by Pheidias in the 5th century BC and removed brutally 24 centuries later by Lord Elgin.

“I feel proud and very pleased. The journey could have all failed ,” says the doctor in “Ta Nea” that finally reached the outside of the Acropolis on his bicycle after already twice postponing his travel. “As soon as I went up the 45 steps up to the entrance, I felt alleviation and tears”, even if it was not the first time he attempted to do something extreme to help the fight for the return of the Marbles, after the summer of 2000 when he swam between Delos & Paros for the same aim.

Getting up each morning in 6:00. exercises, control of bicycle, loading baggage that weighed 25.0 kilos and 150 kilometres were all in his daily program so that he crossed Britain, France, Switzerland, Italy and it reached Greece. Moments he will not forget are in France when it rained & he fell on the railway lines, injuring his shoulder, but also the help of Italian craftsman Karlo, who manufactured an entirely new wheel for his bicycle at his own expense, so that he could continue his travel.

Do you feel that you are doing something opposed to your homeland?
“No, because the opinions are split. How can the government be negative, when a very big number of their MPs come out in favour comes out themselves in favour? I act this way in any case, as I believe that the frieze is a single work of art. Imagine the Mona Lisa shared between the Tate and the Louvre? From the moment they have also completed the New Acropolis Museum the dialogue will become more serious and one of the British arguments will have disappeared”, he says. As for the future? “ I have nothing in mind, but am open to proposals.”

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