This last summer we decided to forego our usual side trip to the Aegean isles. Instead, my family and I joined a group of Greek friends who were taking a road trip to the area around Mount Olympus. We all stayed at a hotel on the coast, near a town called Leptocarya (approximately a three hour drive from Athens), where we enjoyed the seaside beach. Leoptocarya is rather touristy but we were well situated for day trips to some of the surrounding attractions. In this and future posts I'll try to describe some of those attractions. A short drive southward is a town at the foot of the mountain, called Neos (New) Panteleimonas, adjacent to the Byzantine castle of Platamonas. It is one of the finest and best preserved castles in Greece and guards the traditional trade route from Thessaly in central Greece into Macedonia towards the second largest Greek city of Thessaloniki. On a clear day you can see the penisula of Halkidiki in Northern Greece. If you continue in the direction of Mt. Olympus for about 3 kilometers you will arrive at the scenic village of Palios (Old) Panteleimonas. It has a lovely tree covered town square next to the Church of St. Panteleimon and a fountain from which you can drink the sparkling clear water coming down in mountain streams from the home of the ancient Greek Gods. Not only is the panoramic view breathtaking, the architecture and surrounding natural beauty is a cameraman's dream. We were there in August, enjoyed pleasant temperatures, a gentle offshore breeze and didn't have to fight any pushy crowds.