ROTHENBURG AN DER TAUBER, Germany (Reuters) - Disney couldn't even get close. If you want a backdrop of fairy tale castles and gingerbread houses for a Christmas story, Rothenburg is the real thing. This walled mediaeval town above the river Tauber in northern Bavaria is the capital of Christmas kitsch. Stalls jammed into the narrow alleys beside the Gothic town hall look in danger of being swept away by the stream of visitors, half of them foreigners, that flood Rothenburg every day. English oohs and ahs mingle with bursts of Japanese along the crooked lines of booths that are covered with hand-made decorations straight out of an "olde world" Christmas storybook. Icy fingers curl for warmth around mugs of mulled wine and foot-long sausages sizzling on charcoal fires send swirls of thick blue smoke around twinkling lights. Romance sells, according to Mayor Herbert Hachtel, who regularly travels to Japan to promote his town. Tourism officials say they cannot gauge how much money Germany's 250 main Christmas markets bring in each season. Nuremburg's December market maybe older. Munich and Cologne maybe be bigger. But Rothenburg is a Christmas market within a Christmas market. If the stalls don't yield the painted pewter tree ornament or the candle-powered Christmas carousel that you simply must have, then you can join the queue outside gingerbread house facade of one shop that bills itself as the biggest Christmas store in the world. But if you are not freakish about Christmas, then Rotenburg's sweetness, as one travel guide notes acidly, is like gingerbread. A little is more than enough.