I’ve hosted many bike travelers at our U.S. home over the past three years through Warmshowers, an international network that connects members for overnight stays at no cost. Now for the very first time, my daughter Eva and I were guests at a very unique Warmshowers community in northern Germany, and it’s been one of the most memorable experiences of our two-week Europe bike trip.
If you’re a Warmshowers member and biking anywhere between Copenhagen and Hamburg, consider sending a request to Helge Siems–link requires Warmshowers login, located near Grube, Germany. According to his listing:
It’s always possible to tent in our garden. Our little holiday-farm is a popular spot for international cyclists between Hamburg and Copenhagen. Yes, we are professional hosts but we love to support the community with this free offer. Please notice that this is a kind of hotspot for cyclists.
But if you don’t own a tent or prefer to stay indoors, Helge rents tiny houses and holiday apartments on his website https://meeresbrise.de—see Google Translate in English—and also on his AirBnB page https://airbnb.com/p/hostelhof. In other words, while Helge runs a business of renting indoor space for a fee, he gladly welcomed us to put up our tents on his property for free. When I asked Helge why, he explained that “Warmshowers is my community,” and he seems genuinely interested in meeting cyclists and sharing stories from around the world. In fact, he proudly installed a large yellow “Copenhagen-Hamburg Warmshowers” sign on the bike path outside his property, and printed up stickers to advertise this free offer for Warmshowers members. We posed for a picture in front of sign just before Helge and another guest, Jana, accompanied Eva and me on a one-hour ride toward our next destination.
When Eva and I arrived, we were warmly greeted by Biene, who works with Helge. She walked us around the property, showed us spaces where we could cook our meals and clean our dishes, pointed us to the very modern bathroom and shower, which was nicer than mine at home. Biene also kindly helped us with laundry and made time to listen and share her story, which made us feel very welcome.
Eva and I decided to pitch our tents on a small lawn near the eating tables and bathroom facilities, which seemed comfortable and convenient for us. Other cycling tourists pitched their tents in the larger field with the sheep, for more privacy and perhaps a better view of the windmills and sunset. Still other guests rented tiny houses elsewhere on the property, or at one of Helge’s other properties nearby.