In February 2014, I traveled to Morocco on a school trip for Religious Studies. It was a mesmerising experience that taught me things I will cherish for the rest of my life. We stayed in Marrakech and Casablanca.

Hassan II Mosque - Casablanca, Morocco - George Franks

Hassan II Mosque – Casablanca, Morocco – George Franks

Hassan II Mosque - Casablanca, Morocco - George Franks

Hassan II Mosque – Casablanca, Morocco – George Franks

Marrakech is a bustling city, rich with character and culture. Stray animals roam the streets whilst locals sell spices which creates an inviting aroma as you walk around. We stayed in a hotel called ‘Les Trois Palmiers’ near the Jamaa El-Fna square, the main marketplace of Marrakech.

To me, Jamaa El-Fna summarises Morocco. In the day the square is lively with snake charmers, orange juice stalls, magicians and beggars. By night the square transforms with storytellers, dancing boys and food stalls.

Hassan II Mosque - Casablanca, Morocco - George Franks

Hassan II Mosque – Casablanca, Morocco – George Franks

The contrast between polished and tarnished is strongly eminent in Morocco. You will find exquisite mosques that are seemingly untouched down one street, but another will lead you to slums and litter. I found that this was what made Morocco so intriguing. It’s not one or the other, it’s both.