It is what was uncannily reflected in central and northern California — the lush Lori province, home to the 10th-century Haghpat monastery, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the view from the world's longest aerial tramway in Tatev, the gentle lull of the Vararak river in Goris and the dry, straight roads out of the capital of Yerevan to the underrated cities around it (sans the crumbling Soviet-era architecture that peppers the country after independence in 1990, of course).
Nature mimicked itself some 7,000 miles away, but while California saw more than 13 million international visitors in 2010, Armenia's figures, largely comprised of its own diaspora, still hover around the hundreds of thousands. Overlooked, indeed.
But there's something about California that's unlike anywhere else, beyond Los Angeles, beyond the palm trees and traffic. There's also something about Armenia, beyond the misconceptions about a country and its people, who are in need of some discovering, too.