Fun to work on, aren't they
That's why there is no textbook.
A bit like one of those 'block of wood and piece of string, and ring that won't fit through the hole' puzzles.
The next time you take apart a McPherson strut setup on some other car, it will seem very simple!
To get the fork off the shock absorber, you have to remove the Allen-key bolt that you said (has to come right out because it goes through a hole in a tab on the shock absorber casing), then a few hammer taps are needed with a suitable drift.
The thing I found most puzzle-like with the 156 (or 147/GT) is that even when you do slide the fork off the shock absorber, the fork can't drop far enough to remove the strut easily because the fork's special flared and offset shape catches on the lower arm. So the antiroll bar link still has to come off, like you said. And in my case, the lower arm too (the more bits removed, the merrier).
And the other challenge I had was to get the strut top mounting studs to go back into the mounting far enough to get the nuts on. I just managed to bend one stud and jam the other instead. This is more or less the same challenge you had, except that yours wouldn't come off and mine wouldn't go on. Yin and yang, butterfly flaps its wings in Brazil and a tornado hits Portugal - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butterfly_effect
, that sort of thing. If yours had come off, mine would probably have gone on. And vice versa (it's all my fault).
I'm surprised you separated the top balljoint with a hammer - it really is easier with one of those clothespeg-shaped wind-up-until-it-goes-BANG separators. They don't cost too much, but cost enough to make you think "wow, that was strong!" when it breaks.
Still, at least you have the other side left to do next week, and you'll get to do both sides again when you upgrade the shocks and springs in a month's time. You won't want to miss the excitement of the super-long spring to uncompress (compressing it to undo the mount is one thing, but uncompressing the spring is a cliffhanger moment as the compressor tools run out of screw thread to unwind and the spring is still compressed... high drama).