2018 marked a Significant Birthday and to celebrate this, it was decided that Mrs EG and I would spoil ourselves with a 10 day first class Interrail, sweep up a lot of oddments in various of my 'usual suspect' countries and have a brief look at Switzerland via the Golden Pass line. Pretty straightforward.
The winter discount offer from Interrail was made use of, a flight to Wroclaw was booked with a certain Irish airline, along with passholder fares on Eurostar for the return to allow a reasonably comfortable return (at least as far as Wolverhampton).
Several months of research followed to establish places to stay, places to eat (one of us is vegetarian and the other is, as readers of this site will know, the world's fussiest eater), and places to visit.
With just a month to go, all seemed 'fair set for France' and, if I remember correctly, 8 other countries. Then one July morning I awoke to see what appeared to be a large swelling on the outside of my nose. An exploratory finger soon revealed that there was no such swelling and it quickly became clear (or not) that an arc on the left of my field of vision was in fact a field of non-vision. To cut a long story short, a detached retina was confirmed and in all fairness to them, the NHS sprang into action and I spent the following day at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, extremely frightened but ultimately repaired, up to a point. Those who've had this experience will know that you end up with a bubble of gas in the affected eye which holds the retina in place while it heals, and the consequences of flying in such a condition don't bear thinking about!
So that put the trip on hold. Complications following the op which meant I couldn''t see for three months, and added complication from a malevolent and recurrent chest infection which prevented any further repair work (coughing during eye surgery is not recommended!), meant complete abandonment. For the first year since 1991 I did no 'mainland' European track at all, and UK track was limited to the admirable Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway (done on that birthday with only one eye functioning and not really new track as I did it in BR days) and the equally admirable Kinver & West Midlands Society of Model Engineers miniature line in south Staffordshire. The pictures below sum up the year's bashing, although we did get to Ieper for the parade on Sunday 11 November 2018, but not by rail - oh wait, I suppose I did re-do some European track from wherever the border is on the Eurotunnel system, to Coquelles and back. Further exploration had to wait until 2019.
In the end it was a year before I was anywhere near fit to travel and even then it was a last minute expedition, having had to cancel a railtour booking as my constant coughing would have been a nightmare for my fellow passengers on a three day trip! As it turned out my symptoms were minimal when I finally boarded a plane to Munich and cleared completely when I arrived in Prague a couple of days later, ironically on a day with an air pollution warning was in force.
The next trip turned out to be a rehashed version of the 2018 plan, starting in Germany rather than Poland as originally intended.