We’d had a warm soupy lunch at the Hakaniemi Food Hall and were raring to explore Helsinki (well, at least I was exploring, my friend was the guide who knew exactly where we were).
The closer we got to the senate square, the more seagulls we saw flying overhead. “Be careful with these birds,” my friend turned to me, “they are rude, aggressive and want your food.”
Really? I wondered back to her, surely they wouldn’t attack humans right?
“Well, it depends, they will swoop down and eat your food and there’s no guessing what they’ll do if you try to fight back.”
If I’m being honest, a part of me really wanted to witness that tussle between seagulls and humans for food if only for the drama of seeing man vs animal live. And it almost looked like I would see it first hand as we walked down towards the Helsinki Market Square.
The Helsinki Market Square or Kauppatori in Finnish is located at the centre of Helsinki facing the Baltic Sea. Like any market square it has offerings of food, fruits, souveniors and the like.
The market square is frequented by tourist eager for some local food, and the awesome aroma of food permeated the open air market place, lingering just long enough to make you salivate. The harmony of seared salmon, fried whitebait fish, salty mackerel, potatoes and soups among others got my just filled stomach growling again.
There were also reindeer meatballs among other dishes on sale.
Then there were some of the most amazing looking grapes and berries I’d ever seen. Clear, bright, and incredibly sweet. They did look real and yet they were.
No wonder then that the beguilingly beautiful seagulls swarmed above. The food was enticing and there was enough unknowing prey from whom to snatch the food from.
A young girl had just ordered a plate of whitebait and potatoes. The paper plate, though small, was the sized of her tiny arms combined. Her face wore a bright smile as she looked at her food and walked in my direction with parents in tow. This was going to be yummy, her eyes said.
I felt a gust from behind me and turned up, a seagull had swoped down targetting the little girl. It was fast, no one could react in time, it looked like it was going to get at rhe little girl…
The girl finally noticed an looked up, stunned into inaction. Her parents noticed the seagull then but then but just as the seagull looked like it was about the succeed in its smash and grab attempt it aborted the attack. Hanging over the market square was a transparent net that blocked its path. Frustrated in its attempt, the seagull let out a scream and flew off.
I turned to my friend, “damn…”
They look cute, but them they can be fierce…
ON THE MAP