Who Am I?? I am Ralph Walker and I can be found at 1542 North Jefferson Street, Arlington, Virginia 22205, USA. My phone number is (703) 237-0859. I'm retired from the Smithsonian Institution (U.S. National Museum) where I toiled for 27 years as a computer programmer, specialising in electronic printing and database publishing. Since I'm retired I'm easy to reach and e-mail is welcome.
I'm married to Jan and have two grown sons, Vance and Spence, all three of which (along with me) appear in some of the Swiss photos. In addition to my love of Switzerland and photography I have been involved with Marusho/Lilac motorcycles since 1975, and maintain an extensive website devoted to these classy shaft-drive bikes which were built in Japan from 1951-1967.
What's GRUETZI?? In time I hope to write an authoritative paragraph on this word, but for now let's say it's a Swiss German greeting, related to the verb grüßen. There is no real consensus in Switzerland about how it is spelled, but the spelling I have chosen for my URL seems to be the most popular. If you are a German language authority I would be most grateful for your input.
What about the Bear?? Our home base in Switzerland is in the canton of Bern. This bear in the background is the symbol for both the canton and the capital city of Bern. The name derives from an old form of the German word for 'bears'.
Our Travels in Switzerland: Since 1982 we have taken 24 vacations in Switzerland, each 3 weeks or more, of which we spend several weeks at a chalet in the village of Schönried. It is only a few kilometers from the well-known resort town of Gstaad. It is a touristy area, but not so much so as the Interlaken/Jungfrau region.
We always take our last week in other towns in Switzerland and have stayed in too many to list. There is no question in my mind that the Bernese Oberland is the best possible region in which to stay. For most people the Interlaken region is the best bet. The important thing is to make sure you can reach all the destinations you wish to visit during the day without difficulty.
The Photos: Most of the photos were taken using a Minolta X700 camera, often using a 16mm or 7.5mm fisheye, Kodachrome 64 and, when needed, a flashbulb. Flashbulbs are useful for lightweight travel. The smallest flashbulb (AG1B) is more powerful than most electronic flashes. In recent years I have also used Canon Pro90 IS, Minolta Dimage A2 and Panasonic FS20 digital cameras.
The slides were scanned on my Minolta film scanner. When suitable, the images were cropped to 500x700 pixels and placed in a border, using Photoshop on a Windows XP system. They were compressed in JPG format to a size of about 70kb.
The Website: After writing code for assorted computers since 1966, I find that I really appreciate a simple, clean, slow interface, high in content and low on bells and whistles. Code on the Web is a house of cards in any case, with no two companies agreeing on anything, and this is a good reason to avoid any controversial or ambiguous commands. I do want this site to resemble the form in which I wrote it, so if you have a reasonably modern computer and browser and are having a problem with my site you will be doing me a great favor if you report it to me. I've used as little Java as I could.
Speaking of Java, I hope everyone realizes that Microsoft lost a lawsuit with Sun Microsystems over the Java language, and in 2007 began removing it from Windows XP systems when you did your updates, without any notice to you. Now, in order for Java to work you must visit the official Java.org website and download Sun's version.
Spelling Note: You may wonder why I don't use spellings such as 'Lucerne' and 'Berne'. I spell place names the same way that someone living there would spell them, or, if there is a well-known English variant, I might use that. It would be nonsensical to choose the French spelling for Luzern ('Lucerne'), or to choose the German spelling for Geneva ('Genf'). However (for instance) since the English variant 'Lake Geneva' is so well established, I would use it over the French 'Lac Léman'. There is no perfect way to handle this but at least I don't have to be dead wrong. . .
Copyright © Notice: All my photos on this site have a tiny copyright notice. You may use photos of mine from this website on your own website provided you include credit, either in the text or the alternate text, and a reference to WWW.GRUETZI.COM. If you want higher quality images (uncompressed, higher resolution or no feathered edges) send me email with the file name(s) and the use to which you intend to put the image(s) and I'll see what I can do.
Thanks for visiting. The only way I'll ever know WHO visited this site and what part of the world you are from is if you send me e-mail.