First and foremost to be understood about Eastern Europe, is it's distinctly east of Western Europe. Many have made the mistake in the past that it is the other way around. This is not the case.
Second, and more importantly, there's the Roma. No, not the gypsies, everyone knows about them, the tomatoes. Some of the best in the world, Italy's dirty little secret is - most of the ingredients used in Italian food is imported from Eastern Europe - especially the chief ingredient in their wonderful pizza sauce - the Roma tomato. If you find yourself in a field of Roma - tomatoes that is, not the other ones - you might have thought you'd died and gone to Italian heaven. Well I suppose with the Italian mafia, being surrounded by Roma of the other kind might lead you to think the same thing.
Third. There's the women. Especially in Romania. DONT trust em. The Eastern European men are constantly trying to pawn them off or exchange their women to westerners saying things like "we have the finest women in the world" - as they chuckle to themselves and refuse to show you a picture of the trolls they turn into at the age of 30. Now if you think Gollum in Lord of the Rings is a stunner, you have nothing to worry about.
Fourth, there's the trains. DO you want to wait for 8 hours at every border for no reason whatsoever (Czech/German border) ? Or how about for some reason be put on a steam train only to go through a 5 mile long tunnel that they handily didn't ventilate (Bulgaria towards Sofia). Or my favorite is - taking 10 hours to get to a place which should take any more than a 3 hour car ride (Cluj Napoca to Suceava). Or - my personal favorite - waking up to go 'relieve yourself' and finding someone had sh*t on the faucet handles in the toilet - IN BOTH the front and rear compartments? Oh it doesn't stop there - how about being caught in a cabin with a family of 8 farmers who haven't washed in days? But wait - there's more - how about 'captive audience' - where you didn't bring enough snacks and they charge you $2 US for a can of soda? I could go on. But if you're in eastern Europe - for the love of me - drive.
Fifth. Don't go to Bucharest. The pictures do it justice.
Why? Remember when Michael Jackson held the baby out the window? That was in Romania. I believe Bucharest had driven him absolutely insane. It has that effect on people. He gets lambasted the world over for 'unsafe practices' - when the fact of the matter is - he probably thought his baby was the antichrist and had been infected by demons and he was merely trying to do the world a favor.. The key to remember about Bucharest is: Trust no one. really.
In all seriousness - even that all was serious - look - i spent a great deal of time there as an American and while all the above is absolutely true, there's a positive side to things too. You'll find interesting and playful people, You'll come out of places like Transylvania convinced vampires are real, the night clubs and entertainment in Eastern Europe are bar none the best in the world, they are great with computers and I highly recommend working with them in whatever capacity you might have (I've worked with them professionally and..s hall we say.. wearing a white hat)... The women are freakish beautiful.
And my advice is: if you run into gypsies and the roma. Get to know them. They're a wonderful bunch and are amazing musicians. I had a ferry ride from Athens to Italy when the bar was 'taken over' by roma - who proceeded to party it up as only they know how. I was at first intimidated, but I stuck around and am glad I did. a great bunch of people. Sure, a pair of barely dressed ladies tried ripping me off in Cluj-Napoca - but I regard that more as a lesson of 'question what you think you know about this world'. I should have paid for the two of them for the night, I know I would have had fun. If they'd have had it...