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  • When I was in my early twenties I visited Venice. I was interested in seeing as much art as I could - but just being on the streets and on the bridges - Venice itself felt like one big open air art gallery.

    On my last day, a Tuesday, I decided I'd better go and see some art in a real Venetian gallery. One place that was recommended was The Peggy Guggenheim Museum. It was located in a palace on the Grand Canal.

    I got on a water bus packed with tourists with just standing room available. It made many stops along the way but as we went on the crowd thinned out and I was eventually able to sit down and enjoy the view. By the time it got to my stop I was the only person left. I thought this was a bit odd as I presumed most of the people were going to the same museum.

    Undeterred, I stepped on to the Quayside and followed the signs for the museum. It was just a short walk and when I got there I found out why I was on my own - the museum closes on a Tuesday. I could only see the façade of the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni through the locked gate.

    Beside the gate there was a low wall, about chair height, so I sat down with my back to the railings feeling a bit foolish. I went from thinking "I've come all this way out here without checking the opening times?" to "What kind of a museum closes on a Tuesday?"

    Resting my elbows on my knees I left my head hang down. It was then that I saw it - this tiny drawing on the wall, about the size of a childs hand.

    It was a mixture of a prehistoric cave drawing and baby graffiti - a tiny image of a smiling girl. I was looking at it upside down, so I got on my knees to examine it closer.

    Was this the most beautiful thing I had seen in all of Venice?

    It didn't take me long to realise that it was. I wanted to take the wall home with me but in the end I just took a photograph.

    I moved house many times since then but I always pinned it over my desk - where it still is today. It's my amulet, my talisman.
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