I finally made it to Rungstedlund! I waited many years to visit the home of one of my heroines, Karen Blixen, and finally I was there. There in the house where she lived most of her life, I walked the same wooden floors that she would have walked and sat on the same benches in her beautiful gardens that she would have sat on, enjoying the tranquility and listening to bird songs.
Karen Blixen (1885-1962) is one of Denmark’s major literary figures and her fame as a storyteller spread throughout the world. Karen was born at Rungstedlund, a former inn, purchased by her father in 1879. For 17 years she lived on a coffee farm in Kenya, running it with her husband, Bror von Blixen-Finecke. Following their separation, she took over responsibility for running the business and during that time she met the love of her life, the British safari leader Denys Finch-Hatton. In 1931, after the coffee farm was sold and Denys Finch-Hatton had tragically died in a plane crash, Karen Blixen returned to Denmark and moved in with her mother at Rungstedlund.
It was here that she wrote her most famous stories like Out of Africa and Babette’s Feast.
Karen Blixen died in 1962 and is buried in the large gardens under an impressive beech tree. Before her death she set up the Rungstedlund Foundation who look after the house and gardens. The museum is a great experience, with original furniture and everything set exactly as Karen Blixen left it. There are freshly cut flowers in vases throughout the rooms, just like she would have had to welcome her many guests that came to stay with her during her life.
I had the most wonderful day visiting Karen Blixen’s former home, feeling her presence almost everywhere I went. There is a small movie being shown in one of the museums rooms, featuring her voice. At times it felt as if she was talking to me about her times on the farm in Africa, the people she met there and how hard it was to never be able to return to see it.
An awe-inspiring day…