Category Archives: Photography

Flickr, seo and backlinks

There used to be a time I wasn’t aware of how valuable a link can be. Now I am. Since I got my head into SEO and started making money of my websites through advertisements, I recognize how much value a link is: it could mean a big difference in terms of income.

linkbuilding robokowBut not all links are equal. Some are really valuable while others are of less value. My links from my Flickr profile for example are of no value. Flickr censors the hyper links with a “no-follow” attribution. This means that search engines pay much less attention to those links. The pain for me is though that my photos are used quite a lot over the Internet, and hence I receive a lot of links to my profile. While those links technically belong to me, Flickr doesn’t share the value of those links with me.

So I have been thinking how I can still make use of all the value that sharing my photos on the Internet brings. And there is a way. I hunt down websites that use any of my photos and ask them kindly to change the back-link from Flickr to the photo-galleries on this website for example. Or if there are photos on it about Istanbul, to my Istanbul website. Like this I will build up a better ranking for those websites directly and sharing free content pays off directly.

The Fun Is In Doing It

Robino hitching to Berlin

This photo above is of me hitching to Berlin in 2010, taken somewhere along the German highway. I was hitching to Berlin to help organising the third edition of the European Hitchgathering. I am republishing it for a photo-challenge of The Hitchhikers Handbook, a website that’s been around for a year now.

Actually, I have taken quite a few hitchhiking photos of people who I’ve hitched with. I made a gallery of some of these hitchhiking photos I made, which even were part of an exhibition, but unfortunately it isn’t available on its old location.

I’ll promise to republish these photos soon here on my blog. For now there is only my hitchhiking set on my Flickr account, dating from 2008 already.

Istanbul Golden Horn

A scenery view of Istanbul Golden Horn and the Topkapi Palace

Istanbul is a city I love very much. I lived there six years ago for a little while. I could never get enough of it. In fact I love it so much I just started a new website about it. So far it only has a couple of posts, but there is many more to come. Find it at Naar Istanbul

This photo I took whilst from the Asian side on a ferryboat, facing the Golden Horn. At the background you can see a tower of the Topkapı Palace.

The Value of Money

A woman asking for money in Kiev, the Ukraine

It was a long time I had not touched money. If not for the couple of times I just had to buy some cat-food or else kitten would starve, it was easily over a year. But suddenly I was feeling the touch of money. I smelled it and it felt crispy.

I was unsure what to do with the bill of 20 euro my friend Rene had given me. I was staying with him in Lyon, France, and it was my turn to go to the market to buy the veggies and fruits for the house. I thought it was good to let go of the idea of not using money, and to experiment again to use it; to get a sense of what it would do to me.

And to say the truth, I thought it would be fun. But instead I was hit by doubt and uncertainty: I simply didn’t know who to give the money to, from whom I wanted to buy the food. Maybe this woman with the nice smile, or that guy who is old? In other words, I wasn’t looking at the quality of the food, but I was judging the quality of the person.

Up and down the market I walked for some time before I finally decided to settle it and to ‘just buy something’. They were apples and I gave the market salesman the money – a piece of paper – looking at him with a weird glance in my eyes, as if I was still in doubt this was the right guy to give the money to, as if he was the one who would “deserve” it.

I ended up spending the whole 20 euro, and I came back home with a trolley filled with fresh foods. I was happy using money again, it made me feel better. Whereas living money-less was fun and interesting at first, at the market in Lyon I came to understand it was now limiting me: I had become a slave of not using money. And like this I came to understand the value of money: it is not what it resembles, but what it does to you.

September 2011. The story in Dutch is available at

Recap Portugal Trip

Yep- that's me walking

Oh Portugal. How much I loved hitching, cycling and hiking on your roads, your dunes, and cliffs. Wild nature, and wonderful people. Amazing hospitality and what an experience to do all this without money! Just going around the bars and restaurants asking for left-overs, and many times the food would just appear right in front of me. Eating fruits of trees and finding veggies all along my path, and people inviting me over.

From North to South, literally from the furthest border to the most opposite side, by walking and hitching and staying over in Vila Nova de Cerveira, Viana do Castelo, Porto, Espinho, Mira, Coimbra, Talasnal, Tomar, Lisboa, Seixal, Alcácer do Sal, Carvalhal, Sines, Porto Covo, Vila Nova de Millfontes, Almograve, Odemira, Zambujeira, Azenha, Odeceixe, Rogil, Aljezur, Sagres, Salema, Lagos, Silves, Benafim, Vilamoura,  São Brás de Alportel, Tavira and Vila Real de Santo António.

Highlights are numerous, and I am still writing my stories. But one of my personal favourites was Vila Nova de Millfontes, the second town on my unplanned hiking trail. I arrived in the morning, after walking for 6 hours by moonlight over the highest dunes I had ever seen. Coffee and breakfast was given by a nursery, and lunch was provided by some Bulgarians with a restaurant. But my path was blocked by a river and the bridge was far, and I wanted to cross in a more traditional fashion. So I decided to wait at the harbor for a local to bring me across by boat, which happened, without much waiting involved. His ex-wife was Dutch, and so he liked me. My first time hitching on a boat!

Crossing the river

Recapping my experience, I finally had time to publish my photos. Not all of them, as I lost half of my photo-collection after being deprived from my computer, money and phone in the beginning of my way. But that reality was not as bitter as it may appear, as that triggered a set of events that changed my perspective on life tremendously. Ah, where life brings you when you simply surrender and trust!

Magic flute

Magic in your life, hitch, play and fly. A flute maker finds you on your way – after a long night of  sleeping cold along the highway – and he brings you further. You allow it, you surrender to the magic of the moment and you meet … your love.

She was dancing in the moonlight – in front of the bonfire on the tones of the flute you received, the flute that ‘has a life on its own‘ and that ‘will take you on an adventure’. Together you started a story that appeals and inspires, a story that truly can be called the magic flute trail…

Thanks – and I will never forget the beautiful Kira smile.