Bench overlooking Oeschinensee, Berner Oberland

They are everywhere you look: beside precipitous mountain paths, under shady trees, in parks, and beside lakes and parking lots. Swiss benches are an open invitation—“Please have a seat”, “Take a load off”, “Enjoy the view”, “Have a picnic!”—it’s an invitation impossible for me to resist.

The benches were always there, but after a friend gave me a notebook illustrated with a red Swiss bench on every page, I began to take a closer look.

Red bench in the FricktalThese sturdy seats come in industrial versions with tubular steel underpinnings, or slatted with wood—some painted, some not. A bench might be hand-painted and set out beside a front door, or hand-hewn from a big chunk of tree.

It may have a back for proper sitting or no back at all, to better serve as a table. A bench may be backed with concrete to make it last longer. Many benches are the Swiss red of my notebook, but as many are not.

On occasion I’ve had a camera in hand when I happened upon benches in Swiss cities or the countryside, by a lake, or fronting a jaw-dropping mountain vista.

The seasons of a Swiss bench

In winter, I’ve found benches hunkered down under a blanket of snow, patiently waiting for a thaw. In cherry blossom season, a bench has invited me to take a time out from a spring hike—just a short sit, before I have to get up and moving to get warm again. In summer, well, that’s when the Swiss bench comes into its own. There is no more welcome sight, beside a hiking trail halfway up or down a mountain, than a sturdy Swiss bench. Come autumn, a bench in the city is still a good spot to catch the last rays of sunshine before cold weather.

Any guesses where I found these?

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Summer bench
Winter bench
Summer bench
Spring bench
Spring bench
Summer picnic on a bench
Spring bench
Summer bench
Summer bench
Winter bench
Autumn bench
Autumn bench
Winter bench

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Talking about the power of observation! What a lovely little story to remind me not to take all those lovely, inviting and live-saving benches here in CH for granted!!!
    MW

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