I went to Istanbul to pick up my transit visa for Turkmenistan. I had all the other visas in my passport when I left: Iran, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgystan, Kazakhstan, Russia and Mongolia. I had applied for the Turkmen visa in Vienna, but it took some time, I was ready to leave and didn't want to wait any longer. The employee at the embassy came up with the idea that I could pick up my visa along the way, either in Istanbul or Teheran. He promised to send me the processing number of my visa as soon as it was ready and he told me that with this number I would have my visa delivered without any delay. I had my doubts. But I knew of an Iranian in Mashad who could also help with the Turkmen visa, if things didn't work out the way I had hoped.
I was still in Greece when I got an e-mail with the number I had been waiting for. I went to the Turkmen embassy in Istanbul in the morning, paid 55$ and they told me to pick up my passport with the visa at 5pm. And so it was. I felt relieved. My visa was valid from 12th May to 16th May. Everything was perfect.
I spent 2 nights in Istanbul and then took the ferry to Yalova from where I continued to Bursa and Konya. Good roads all the way and friendly people. Whenever I stop for gas, people would offer me tea and cookies and cigarettes. It was windy and cold, but dry.
On the terrace of a truckstop with a group of truckers. Always friendly and the best source of information as to road conditions, weather, border crossings etc.
After two nights in a backpackers' in Istanbul, I felt like sleeping in my tent again. I had my private watchdog.