Alice-Azania Jarvis: Spain's better value than Cornwall – and it's drier

So, I made it. Out of the strip-lit shopping mall that is Heathrow Terminal 3, that is, and into Seville. Delayed, yes, but only by a few hours – and with considerably lighter pockets but rather heavier hand luggage. I even made it back, which seems fairly miraculous given that the airports were closed for most of the week.

Better than all this, though, was the satisfaction that came with being proved right: holidaying abroad can be cheaper than holidaying in the UK. Much cheaper, in fact. Admittedly, this outcome had little to do with my carefully laid plans. Our rural location (a farm in the mountains of Andalucia) didn't have quite the isolating financial effect predicted; there may not have been many shops around but there was one – a farm shop – which I visited at least three times a day for almonds, chocolate and marmalade. And, being only one hour from Seville, we made several day-long trips into the city centre (without doubt one of the most beautiful that I have ever laid eyes upon).

Still, for all my continued consumption, I still managed – accommodation excepted – to spend less than I would in London. And, even including accommodation, I spent a lot less than I did this time last year, on holiday in Penzance. One visit to the ATM lasted me virtually all week, mainly thanks to the discovery of the wonderful Café-Bar Manzano in Aracena, our nearest town, where the size of one's dinner bill appears to be inversely proportional to the number of courses one orders.

The entire spending scale was totally different from that in the UK: beer cost little over a euro, and coffee the same – but orange juice was a luxury at several euros per glass. Nuts, olives and cheeses were similarly inexpensive, the result being that I've returned home to find myself confronted with a new financial dilemma: whether or not to buy a new pair of jeans (with a wider waistband). For the moment, I'm thinking not – which means that for a summer holiday Spain caused little financial fallout.

At any rate, I'm feeling very smug about it all. This time last year, my boyfriend and I returned from Cornwall broke, rain-sodden and tanless. We may still be lacking that tan, but at least this time around there is still some money in the bank. All the better to start saving for next year.

a.jarvis@independent.co.uk

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