Opatija is best reached by flying into Trieste, Italy or Zagreb in Croatia, both about 90-120 minute drive – I opted for Trieste spending the night before in the pretty Italian seaside town of Trieste. Note to self, check how far away the airport is from the town when overnighting somewhere as Trieste is 40 kilometres away so it meant a one hour bus into Trieste and another back to the airport from where, together with two other members of staff I am picked up transported to the hotel which is very good indeed. It is a spa hotel with very nice rooms and excellent facilities including an inside/outside pool.

So you should know that in these events all participants and organisers eat breakfast, lunch and dinner together. The downside of this was that in Taicang four years ago I ate KFC for 10 days straight and it was even worse as when I picked where to eat for lunch on the first day I ate guess what…..KFC so make that 11 days.

However the dinner here is a buffet with an amazing range of foods including salads, hot foods, desserts, ice cream, bread and all of a very high quality.

Opatija is a VERY pretty coastal town very much in the Italian coastal town mould. Here are a couple of pictures from my window in the hotel.

View from the hotel room

The Marina

A very late night for me as I had some work to do (pssst. Personal not for the event).

Photo Montage of the venue and people preparing for the Championships

Next morning up nice and early to a lovely sunny day. A quick breakfast meeting up with all my bridge friends who work on the WBF tournament circuit and a walk around this small compact town.

I return to the hotel and wrote some articles and relax before a lunch which included freshly cooked steak. Hmmm am thinking diet later in the tournament.

Players are arriving all morning, registering, getting their identification badges and welcome bags and then checking into their hotels. Not everybody is staying at the same hotel but are scattered among many nearby hotels.

I go to the Bulletin Room and check out where I will be working for the next 9 days. All good after they set it up with tables, chairs, printers, internet etc.. Arggh no coffee machine – oh well caffeine withdrawal – no my friend Paulo Clair has brought his personal machine from Italy, phew.

The playing areas are all immediately adjacent to the hotel and look very comfortable. Here is a montage of photographs of the venue and some of the people who will be working here during the Championships.

At 19:30 this evening there will be an opening ceremony and I’ll try to get you some pictures for my next blog.