Photos courtesy of Marion Bayer
A cathedral dominates the central sqaure in Oaxaca, Mexico.
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..."I love showing people how rich the culture is," says Bayer, owner and president of Siesta Tours.She
started the business eight years ago while living in Gainesville, Fla. She
husband, Larry, moved to Knoxville last year to be near her
daughter and husband, Megan and Keith Byrd, and their children, Madison and MacKenzie.
Many of her
trips focus on the craft enterprises in the smaller towns in central Mexico.Escorted tours have themes such as culture, history, archaeology and cuisine.Typically they are seven-day trips, but a painting holiday lasts 10 days.
...Bayer is fluent in Spanish and has an educational background in Latin American studies and Mexican popular culture.
"I started studying Spanish in fifth grade.I was fascinated, just enthralled.I took Spanish at every opportunity and at 17 I had a chance to go to Mexico City to develop fluency.I was going to stay for three months and stayed for four years," she
"I am looking for wonderful architecture and ambience and the quaint style of life that you don't get in a bustling city like Monterrey or Guadalajara.
also directs tours to San Miguel de Allende, a Mecca for artists and writers from all over the world; Guanajuato, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; Morelia
, a major crafts and folk art center; and Patzcuaro, a picturesque town on the shores of Lake Patzcuaro.
"Tours are moderately priced.Some aspects are a little rustic because of the part of Mexico we are in. Accommodations are lovely; they are unique," she
explains.Each tour is limited to 25 participants.Tour dates include "Treasures of Oaxaca," Dec. 9-15 and Dec. 29-Jan. 4; "Treasures of the Yucatan," March 9-15; "Treasures of Oaxaca-Women Only," July 8-14.
sells most of her
tours through travel agents or through membership groups, such as museums.For information on upcoming tours, call 693-1410 or check www.siestatours.com.